News

Kickstarter campaign funds new programmable robots

By Stephen Noonoo
October 7th, 2015

Programmable robots for kids exceed Kickstarter goal

cannybot-programmingA new Kickstarter campaign has already exceeded its funding goal to produce programmable robots that can be controlled from a smartphone or tablet.

Similar to Spheros, Cannybots, as the robots are known, help teach kids about robotics, programming, design, and 3D printing while they are playing.

The robots look like toy cars and can be programmed to move around a track and in a number of play scenarios such as high speed racing, time trials, sumo-wrestling, jousting and puzzle-solving. Students can also design new car bodies and use a 3D printer to realize their designs.

Children receive a construction kit for their Cannybot containing all the parts and detailed instructions to build their robot. They can then be programmed and controlled from phone, tablet, PC, or even a Raspberry Pi.

“Going through the building process gives kids the hands-on experience of building a functional robot that they can also program,” said Anish Mampetta, CEO of Cannybots. “Programming is an essential skill today but it is not easy to get kids started. We are allowing kids to do this in a fun, interactive and rewarding way.”

To introduce children to programming, the Cannybots team created a simple and intuitive app called CannyTalk. The app uses a syntax-free programming environment that works like a friendly chat tool. Using the app anyone can program the Cannybot using plain English. The complex Artificial Intelligence (AI) based engine behind CannyTalk is developed in association with researchers from the Computer Science department at the University of Cambridge.

“The children use programming to solve puzzles, control Cannybots on race tracks, and create new game play styles,” added Mampetta. “It’s an interactive, social experience that brings friends and family together.”

The campaign has already raised more than $120,000 on a $40,000 goal. Pre-orders start at $89 for an early bird special; the company said they will be shipped in time for the holidays.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Stephen Noonoo

Stephen Noonoo is a former editor of eSchool News. He has served as a consultant for CUE, California’s ISTE affiliate, and as managing editor of its quarterly publication, OnCUE. He has worked as a freelance writer, an education editor for SmartBrief newsletters, and as a staff editor for a well-known publication focusing on education technology.