Meet the Robo Wunderkind, a new breed of smart toys that introduces children to the basics of coding and robotics in a playful way.
Advanced technologies are increasingly embedded in the toys for our children. During the evolution of the 'smartification' of toys, the playthings increasingly mimic human social behavior - from a talking Furby to robotic lego.
But, smartifying ourselves may have been staggering behind a little. The call for more and earlier education in programming and robotics is not adequately answered yet. And that's where the Robo Wunderkind comes in.
It lets you code and control your robot through two apps, Robo Code and Robo Live, which communicate with the iconic colorful building blocks. These physical blocks are not just simple plastic cubes; they're equipped with special tools. Think of motion and light detectors and proximity sensors. But also more more advanced tools like programmable LED lights, tiny cameras, and IR blasters and receivers: let your Robots communicate and control the TV!
We got introduced to the Robo Wunderkind at this year's Fifteen Seconds Festival. Here, we got to speak with the people behind the Robo Wunderkind, and asked them about their visions for its future, educational purposes and childhood play.
The experience of Robo Wunderkind brings our children closer to technology. Do you think such early involvement could change people's relation to technology? Perhaps make it more intuitive, more natural?
We at Robo Wunderkind see our mission in introducing children to the technologies that surround them in a friendly and mindful way. Since modern kids are already born into the world boosting with advanced technologies, we want to show them how to take the active part in creating the landscape and become creators, not just consumers. The future is here and it calls for the new skills, and the only way to acquire them is to choose the right learning tools for our children to learn through play. Robo Wunderkind modular robotics kits provide exactly this opportunity.
The future of education may be a lot different from that of today. What changes do you anticipate? What role do you think coding/programming is going to play in the future of education? What is the most important lesson kids should experience about programming, technology and robots?
There is no denying that digital literacy will make a significant impact on the development of the professional future of today's children, making it as important as learning foreign languages. Having the playful experience of tinkering, solving the challenges, debugging, children grow up prone to logical thinking and seeing the problems as the temporary task to solve, not as an obstacle for the further development.
Bringing our technology to "life" is a long-lived trend, think of furby's and 'smart' toys. What do you think this aspect, of 'living' technology, adds to the experience of toys?
Based on our experience of developing Robo Wunderkind, many toys which have a character rooted in them, seem to be more appealing to children. Kids will practically bond with such toy, which emotionally enriches their play experience. The 'living' technology definitely brings the play to the next level and makes kids' engagement with toys stronger.
Do you think kids could get an attachment to the robo wunderkinds? Are they the pets of the future?
Robo is created to be kid's new best friend, which acts as a learning aid in providing its little users with intuitive and simple, yet engaging immersion into the creator experience. The most powerful and inspiring thing we as a collective behind Robo Wunderkind could do is to create this nurturing environment where children could feel they are actually creating something - both physical and digital and translate their creative idea into its technological execution. So robots could serve their primary function - act as assistants and help people facilitate big and small tasks.
How do you try to ensure that the Robo Wunderkind is equally attractive to any gender/ boys and girls?
We believe girls can get naturally excited in all thing tech once they are exposed to it early on and acquire more confidence as they figure out how to manipulate it. Robo's colorful modules are purposefully designed to be gender neutral and appealing for both girls and boys, our educators also make sure the project ideas will resonate with our users and boost their curiosity and maker spirit.
What will the future Robo Wunderkind be like, if you had all imaginary technologies available? Why?
If we could do anything we wanted technical-wise, Robo Wunderkind would be a lifelong toy companion, which would literally transform and adapt during an individual's lifespan. So to say a toy and a learning tool for everyone from 0 to 99+, because learning is a lifelong process and it is never too late to start experimenting.