If you're teaching kids how to code, what do you do to show that software makes an impact in the real world? MIT has a clever idea: a robot garden. The project lets you control a grid of Arduino-linked "plants" through programming that makes them blossom and light up in pretty (and occasionally mesmerizing) ways. It'll even teach the virtues of distributed computing -- you can tell these leafy robots to bloom or change color in algorithm-driven sequences. The garden is just a demo for now, but it'll eventually turn into an easy-to-replicate curriculum for students who'd otherwise have to settle for seeing their results on-screen.
[Image credit: Jason Dorfman, CSAIL]