Radhika Nagpal, a computer science professor at Harvard has created a robot named Root, which she hopes to use to teach coding languages such as Javascript or Python in the courses she gives at Harvard.

Nagpal said that the students who learn coding for robotics do it mainly by working in simulation. “They don’t see how sensors behave differently in the real world,” she said. Root was also created to give them something instantly tangible. As soon as they’ve coded, they can see the results of their actions.

The hexagonal Root can climb any smooth surface – whether vertical or horizontal – it finds. It can also write, draw, erase and play music. Users can control it with the use of a remote control and program it using an iPad.

Root is also able to create murals, clean a whiteboard when it is not clean enough or ring an alarm whenever someone walks through the doorway.

The idea behind the creation of this robot is to entertainment and teach both young students and older ones alike.

Experienced robot engineer and Root Robotics CEO and co-founder Zee Dubrovsky said robots are an innovative way for children interested in learning coding to understand the relationship between code and actions, in the same way that LOGO and Basic programming languages were for the older generation.

Dubrovsky said his start-up could raise $2.5 million in seed funding from TLP Investment Partners with Resolute Ventures and Dream Incubator to start laking and selling its robots.

“But hardware won’t work unless it’s cost-effective from the parent’s point of view,” he said. “No parent wants to put another toy on the pile of stuff to cart off to Goodwill.”

29/10/2016: Havard University’s Scansorial startup has developed a robot that is helping everyone learn how to code – whether they’re four or 99 years old.

Root the robot features more than 50 sensors to help it draw, erase, play music and investigate its surroundings by performing tricks such as climbing up walls using magnetic energy.

Users can learn how to code the robot to carry out new actions, whether making it interact better with humans, move in a different ay, play games or anything else they want it to do.

“We have a big problem in our country, nine out of 10 parents want their kids to learn computer science but only one out of 10 elementary schools actually teach it,”Zee Dubrovsky, CEO of Scansorial said. “This leaves 58 million kids stuck in the middle not knowing how to get a computer science education.”

Root teaches how to code using a variety of techniques. When people start building their own applications with a blocks-based graphical interface, while more advanced users can move on to using any programming language they wish to use, such as Swift, JavaScript and Python.

The robot can be programmed to work seamlessly with an iPad too, so for example, the iPad can become a steering wheel to make Root race like a car.

Root can be re-programmed, even when it’s running, making it easy to tweak code to see how it’ll change the task. It helps teach children cause and effect and encourages them to tinker in real-time.

Many existing robotics companies are behind Root, because it encourages people to pursue a career in STEM subjects, which is a vital skill lacking across the world.

“We are thrilled to support Root as it heads out to change the world of education,” Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot said. “iRobot is committed to STEM learning and excited to see one of our alumni carry this passion forward in a startup aimed at bringing robotics and programming into homes and classrooms.”