Sphero takes early learners for driving lessons with indi robot car
Though Sphero released its first rolling robot way back in 2011, the company is probably best known for the BB-8 droid it released before Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens hit cinemas in late 2015. More recently, the focus has been on helping kickstart the coders and makers of tomorrow with a bunch of educational bots like the Rvr and Bolt. Now the indi robocar becomes the company's first robot aimed at early learners.
Like its other educational toys, the indi robot car is designed to help develop problem-solving skills and encourage critical thinking, but this one is the first to be specifically aimed at PK-2nd Graders (the others being designed for students in 3rd Grade through to High School).
Rather than code using a smartphone or tablet, youngsters are provided with silicone tiles of different colors, which are used to build mazes that serve as instructions for the little car as it motors along. The robot's built-in color sensor registers a green tile, for example, and translates that as a go command. A red tile means stop, pink tells the car to make a sharp left turn, it's blue for right, and so on.
Students can build their own driving course and learn such things as color names, pattern recognition, cause and effect, the basics of computational thinking and problem solving while engaging in play like exercises. And as they progress, they can tap into app-based coding by dragging and dropping blocks on a tablet screen.
As you can see in the promo video, the platform makes learning fun and engaging. The indi is available for pre-order now – as a Student Kit or Class Pack.
The Student Kit is priced at US$124.99, is designed for one to three learners and includes one indi car, a bunch of tiles, programming challenges and a durable case to keep everything in. The Class Pack is made up of eight Student Kits, as well as a guide for educators, and is priced at $1,199.99. The Sphero Edu Jr mobile app for more advanced learning fun can be installed for free. Sphero says that both kits will be ready to ship in September.