The Turtles are Back with Root Robotics at CES 2018

When I watched Don’s interview with Raphael, I was transported back to my school days in the early 1980s and adventures with a BBC Micro ‘B’, Logo and a Turtle. While the user interface is definitely better, the patterns on the paper look just the same! To be fair to Raphael and Root Robotics, their turtle does do a bit more – it has over 50 sensors and actuators.

Root’s approach is to use the robot as a fun way to introduce coding to children and young adults. The coding environment has three modes, with simplest using big colourful blocks, through to the most complex which uses Swift, Python and JavaScript. The robot itself retains the pen for drawing patterns but today’s turtles are magnetic for sticking to white boards and have a dry eraser to wipe off pen trails. The robot has over 50 sensors and actuators so it can move and draw, but it can also sense touch, measure light levels and feel edges and walls. It’ll play music, respond to button presses and flash lights. Very impressive.

The Root robot will be shipping in June 2018 for US$199. Pre-orders are open.

Don Baine is the Gadget Professor and gives lectures at

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