Educational Robot Mimics Computer Programming In Real Life

This little robot kit makes an easy jump from Lego to Javascript.

If this generation of Kickstarter-funded innovators has any say in it, today’s kids will grow up knowing programming not just as something they should be getting better at but as an essential, inalienable part of their everyday lives and thinking. Primo and Sphero led the way, but the newest variation on the theme of teaching curious kids and playful adults how to direct a robot is perhaps the most sophisticated yet.

Robotiky, which was researched, prototyped, and developed in just three months and hopes to be ready for distribution by this September, features a modular online interface that connects to the titular robot via USB. The program warms you up with interlocking commands that explicitly state in plain English what they’re going to make the little robot do. Later on, however, the direct commands turn into modules in languages like Python, C/C++ and microcontrollers (mbed and Arduino). The consistency of the goals eases the transition from the earlier stages to the ‘big leagues,’ from moving around pre-existing commands to typing your own.

robotikykit

The software is fully demonstrable and usable online, but certain elements of the robot – like the magnetically attachable bump-sensing whiskers or a sensor that detects light – don’t make much sense unless you’re working in the physical world. The combination of the online and physical elements helps kids see that what they do on the computer can have some very tangible results, as well as the discrepancies between setup and results that so often occur in programming. The completely online interface means it couldn’t get much simpler to set up.

Robotiky was founded by Cambridge graduates and Entrepreneur First students Matthew Screeton and John Ginger, and its arrival in homes and classrooms is meant to coincide with the addition of programming and robotics to the UK’s ICT program. The next step is the manufacturing program, which will begin taking Kickstarter contributions on Monday. Get in on the action and see the change in this generation’s group of kids. You never know what they’re capable of.

Robotiky

Source, Image: Wired UK

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