A Japanese robotics company is raising funds to develop a robot that will help children from birth understand coding.
OK, that may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but the company’s Kumiita cutesy, language-less robot is targeted at preschoolers aged between 0 to three years old.
Because it doesn’t rely on language to help children understand engineering, it makes it accessible to everyone. It uses a game to help teach children the basics of programming, with patterns to help them understand how changing an element will make the robot do something differently.
For example, arrows tell the robot which way to go and other picture-based panels will make the tiny robot do certain things, like turn around in a circle with a particular coloured light flashing.
If one of the tiles is misplaced, its eyes will light up in a rather creepy way and its body will start flashing.
They can physically change the command panels to see how changing am element can change what the robot does and if they do it incorrectly, they will be encouraged to work out a solution to make the robot work again.
It was developed because the company’s CEO wanted children to have the opportunity to understand programming from an early age. He is hopeful the methods Kumiita uses to teach children can be easily understood and will get youngsters excited about pursuing a career in programming, before they even start school.
The basic kit comprises a Kumiita robot and the command panels, which is everything you need to get started. However, it’s a little more expensive compared to similar robots like Kubo, starting at $255 for the early bird, jumping up to $315 at its standard price.
The company is hoping to raise $30,000 on Kickstarter and was a mere $9,000 away from that goal at the time of writing.