Robotics

Lego-like bricks and bots aimed at making coding fun

Lego-like bricks and bots aime...
The Algobrix play-based learning platform aimed primarily at 5 to 13 year-olds
The Algobrix play-based learning platform aimed primarily at 5 to 13 year-olds
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Algobrix function blocks are arranged in sequence to construct commands for the system's Lego-like robot to follow
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Algobrix function blocks are arranged in sequence to construct commands for the system's Lego-like robot to follow
After building an Algobot, would-be roboticists then use the Algobrix function blocks to create command sequences
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After building an Algobot, would-be roboticists then use the Algobrix function blocks to create command sequences
The Algobrix play-based learning platform aimed primarily at 5 to 13 year-olds
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The Algobrix play-based learning platform aimed primarily at 5 to 13 year-olds
Various play mats are available to challenge Algobrix coders to sequence commands so that the bots drive around and hit target zones
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Various play mats are available to challenge Algobrix coders to sequence commands so that the bots drive around and hit target zones
Algobrix activity cards help keep the ideas flowing
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Algobrix activity cards help keep the ideas flowing
Parameter blocks can be snapped onto Algobrix function blocks to alter how the robot carries out its tasks
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Parameter blocks can be snapped onto Algobrix function blocks to alter how the robot carries out its tasks
Algobrix activity cards help keep the ideas flowing
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Algobrix activity cards help keep the ideas flowing
The Algobrix system has a number of robot designs to choose from, but compatibility with standard Lego bricks means that coders can create their own Algobots
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The Algobrix system has a number of robot designs to choose from, but compatibility with standard Lego bricks means that coders can create their own Algobots
Algobrix is the brainchild of Dr. Danny Eizicovits and Amir Asor
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Algobrix is the brainchild of Dr. Danny Eizicovits and Amir Asor
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As we dive headfirst into our automated future, getting our kids interested in coding is becoming just as important as reading, writing and arithmetic. The latest project to join efforts from Fisher-Price, Google and Osmo is Algobrix, a Lego-compatible learning platform where youngsters build colorful bots and play with code.

"We are starting to see robots in hospitals, schools, and even our homes," Dr. Danny Eizicovits of Algobrix noted. "By teaching our kids to communicate with our robotic counterparts, we are hoping to give them the proper tools, and competitive edge in a world that is moving further towards robotics every day."

Eizicovits and Amir Asor joined forces in April 2016 to form Algobrix, aiming to "enhance and redefine how children learn to code." That vision has resulted in a play-based learning platform aimed primarily at 5 to 13 year-olds – though kids of all ages can get in on the coding-block play action (as you can see in the photo below) – where kids build a chunky Lego-like robot and then use function and parameter blocks to wirelessly tell it what to do over Bluetooth.

Algobrix is the brainchild of Dr. Danny Eizicovits and Amir Asor
Algobrix is the brainchild of Dr. Danny Eizicovits and Amir Asor

The first step of the process is to build a robot to command. There are a number of Algobot designs to choose from, each constructed using Lego-compatible components. At the center of each Algobot is an Arduino-compatible processing brain, and a collection of light, proximity, sound and touch sensors wrapped in Leg-like brick skins can be added to the mix. If the kids have traditional Lego pieces boxed away, they can break those out and add to the suggested designs to create their own unique bots.

The coding part of the setup comes in the shape of brightly colored blocks, each with its own functions, commands and parameters. The blocks are connected together to form a chain of commands for the robot to follow once the sequence has been triggered. All without so much as looking at a computer or smartphone screen or getting buried in complicated coding language.

Parameter blocks can be snapped onto Algobrix function blocks to alter how the robot carries out its tasks
Parameter blocks can be snapped onto Algobrix function blocks to alter how the robot carries out its tasks

The developers say that block-coders will learn the basics of programming in a fun hands-on way, while also getting to grips with multi-threading, loops, IFTTT, setting parameters, program debugging and more. Activity cards help keep the ideas flowing and various play mats are available to challenge coders to sequence commands so that the bots move around and hit target zones as they go. And the best news for parents is that they don't need to know any coding to get involved.

"Algobrix changes what is stereotypically a boring, confined experience to a playful, intuitive, and fun learning experience while maintaining a high, positive correlation with coding languages that leave a lasting impression," said company co-founder Amir Asor.

The Algobrix project is currently raising production funds on Kickstarter, where pledges start at US$125 for a 300 piece Algobot with sound and distance sensors and LED light blocks. A kit that includes an Algobot and coding blocks starts at $149. If all goes to plan, shipping is estimated to start in February 2018. The pitch video can be seen below.

Sources: Algobrix, Kickstarter

Algobrix | The Ultimate Coding Learning Game

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1 comment
MattII
How different is this compared to Mindstorms (now 19 years old)?