A plethora of educational robots that aim to teach kids programming and related skills have entered the market over the past year, including the Vortex, the Kamibot and the Fisher-Price Code-a-Pillar. Joining them is Codeybot, a cheese-wedge shaped robot that claims to teach basic programming skills to kids ages six and up.
Set up of Codeybot appears to be relatively easy. Turn it on, connect it to either the free operating app (iOS only for now) or the free mBlockly programming app (iOS only), and start using it. The latter is based on the Blockly programming language developed by Google for building visual programming editors.
The programming app lets kids move blocks on a screen to program the Codeybot to follow a particular path, change its LED facial expressions, or say a particular word. The idea is to program a series of different functions together that Codeybot can perform seamlessly. Kids can save each of the programs they create to share with their friends and family, or add to them later.
The operating app allows kids to use their smart device to control the Codeybot's movements, change the LED display or record their own voice and have it play back to sound funny. The app has both voice control and remote control modes.
The robot comes with built-in Wi-Fi capability so it can connect to any other Wi-Fi device to play music. A rechargeable battery provides from two to three hours of operation between charges. An optional snap on LED laser lets kids pit their Codeybots against one another in battle mode.
Codeybot is made by Makeblock, a China-based company that makes an assortment of robots and robot parts for hobbyists. The company is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the further development and manufacture of Codeybot. It's already surpassed its goal of raising $100,000 and closed the early bird price of US$99 with 31 days left in the campaign.
Backers can still order the Codeybot for $129 or the Codeybot with the LED laser add on for $149. If all goes as planned, Makeblock plans to start shipping the Codeybot sometime in July of this year.
Check out the video to see how Codeybot works.