Saturday, 13 January 2018

CES Kids Robots and Coding Tech Roundup 2018


Every year we take a look at new kid and family tech that gets announced at CES, the big event in Las Vegas where lots of new tech products are announced, previewed and demonstrated.

There are so many family and kids technology products at CES this year that we can't possibly cover them all! We've concentrated on highlighting some interesting uses of robotics for kids and on products that teach kids to code.


Robot Companions

My Special Aflac Duck


CES is packed with robots, but My Special Aflac Duck is the one that really caught our attention this year. It's an interactive plush toy designed as a companion to children undergoing treatment for cancer. The duck has features to comfort them, help them express their emotions and to share their experience. This is a really positive way to use technology to help children. My Special Aflac Duck is designed for a very targetted and specific situation. 

This is the kind of project that makes us positive about the future role of technology in society. 

Miko from Emotix


Emotix has announced that it will be bringing their Miko robotic companion for kids to the US during 2018. The next generation Miko+ is a portable robot with a screen for a face which uses artificial intelligence to interact with children. 

The goal of Miko is to promote children's emotional development and encourage family interaction. 

It's early days for this kind of technology and there's clearly a need to avoid robots replacing social interaction, but in some families, technology does seem to have reduced social interaction and a technical solution is more realistic than suggesting that we try and turn the clock back. 

Coding

The trend for products that allow kids to get hands-on with coding isn't showing any signs of slowing down. There are lots of products at CES including some new products and additions to existing ranges.

There's just too much to cover everything so we'll focus on the products that caught our attention. 

Learning Resources Botley


Learning Resources have announced Botley, a new programmable floor robot for little kids. Unlike many products at CES we don't have to wait long for this one. Botley is due for release at the end of the month. We have already take a more detailed look at Botley.

TACO Playbits and Robobricks


Robotix have announced their TACO range of "tangible coding" products for kids. Tangible coding means using physical objects to create code. TACO uses physical "chips" than can be scanned with a wand. The range includes LEGO Duplo compatibility as well as support for Braille. We looked at TACO in more detail.

Cubroid


Cubroid is a range of programmable and buildable modular electronics components. The Cubroids are LEGO compatible and communicate wirelessly. They're designed so that kids can get on with making without worrying about fiddly physical wires or connections.

CURO


Also from Cubroid, CURO is a smart AI robot with an LCD display, camera, microphone and speaker. There's also a motor block and CURO can be set up in different configurations.

Binary Bots Totem Spider, Tortoise and Crab

Binary Bots are adding to their range of kits that work with the BBC micro:bit mini computer. The new kits are buildable robots. 

KANO Camera Kit

KANO have announced their new Camera Kit which allows kids to make a code their own digital camera. We love their Pixel Kit and their Computer Kit Complete so we're looking forward to the camera. 

Cubetto Colour and Code


Cubetto is a wooden robot that is programmed with physical blocks. Cubetto Colour and Code includes a band for attaching pens to Cubetto so that the robot can draw, and the kids can get involved with the colouring too.

Pai Augie


Augie is a programmable robot from Pai Technology. Augie programmed with an app on a connected device. 


Mabot 


Mabot is a modular robotics kit which can be used to build different styles of robot. Mabot can be programmed from an app to make use of its sensors and outputs.

There are lots of robotics kits based around cuboid shapes but Mabot has used rounded components.

Mabot is also yellow. See it is possible to make a robot that isn't blue!

Ryze Tello



Tello is a new done that can be used with a controller and a VR headset and can also be programmed with Scratch which looks very neat. 



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