Image: Play-i images
Play-i robots are designed to engage children by making the abstract concepts of programming more accessible. These ball-shaped bots—named Bo and Yana—have distinct educational roles. Bo is made up of four connected spheres that children program to glide along the floor on three wheels, avoiding obstacles and delivering small items in the process. Yana is a single sphere laden with sensors. The robots connect wirelessly with a variety of Apple iOS and Google Android mobile devices using Bluetooth 4.0. The programming process and subsequent play encourages kids to engage in computational thinking, for example by instructing the robots to recognize objects in their environment and react in different ways. “The goal is to keep interaction open-ended and free-play so kids discover what they can do with the robot. The robot draws them in while posing new challenges over time,” says Play-i founder and CEO Vikas Gupta. Learning activities include hide-and-seek, solving a maze, racing the robots and scenarios in which children program how their bots will play. Bo and Yana benefitted from Play-i’s successful Kickstarter fund-raising campaign and are expected to be available by year’s end.
Cost: Bo—$169; Yana—$59
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