Tag Archives: coding

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 TheGadgetProfessor.com.

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Kano Codes for Kids at CES 2018



Kano‘s mission is to encourage people, particularly children, to see computers not as unchangeable appliances but as tools to be made, shaped, coded and shared. Their kits plug together bits, boards, buttons and cables to make individual and personalised computers. Joanna gets to the heart of the matter with Todd and the Pixel Kit.

Kano’s approach is to challenge each young developer into programming simple apps that achieve technical goals. Using Kano’s development tools, Kano Code, it’s really easy to build programs as the tools come with code building blocks for things like displaying an emoji or responding to noise via a microphone. It’s very easy to quickly produce something that’s fun and keeps children interested.

The Pixel Kit is available now for just under US$80 and GB£75 from both online shops and major retail stores.

Todd Cochrane is the host of the twice-weekly Geek News Central Podcast at GeekNewsCentral.com.

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