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Tag Archives: learning

Robots Teach Young Children How To Code

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With a future increasingly overlaid in all things digital, it makes sense to raise an ever enlarging number of kids to become programmers; we’re going to need them, after all. And while learning the specifics of a coding language is better done after a certain age, getting acquainted with the concepts underlying programming can be done somewhat sooner. Play-i’s Bo and Yana robots are being introduced for just this purpose. It gives children as young as 5 the opportunity to control them by selecting a series of visual presets that trigger particular behaviours. By doing so, they get acquainted with the “if/then nature of programming”, and rub elbows with concepts that will become central to their potential later careers. Bo is the three-wheeled bot on the right, while Yana is the stationary one on the left. Obviously, their abilities will be limited by their physical attributes so the robot that does more things costs a bit more. Right now a pledge of $149 for Bo and $49 for Yana will get you in the game, although full funding needs to be achieved first and that’s not done yet. Hit the links below to get your chance to move that along a bit.

[ Product Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Big Shot Digicam Comes In Assemble-Yourself Kit

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Watching hordes of American children fail at knowing that chips came from potatoes and that eggs came from chicken while watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution was shocking and eye opening. Granted the kids were young and would eventually learn (hopefully), but it made you realize that you do have to put some effort into getting people to figure out that stuff can be made from… other stuff. The Big Shot digital camera you see above is the brainchild of Shree Naya who believes that the best way to get children and adults of all ages to learn how it works is to get them to assemble it before they can use it. It’s a fully functioning digicam, with a “3-megapixel sensor, a 1.4-inch LCD screen, plus three lenses for different shooting modes (normal, 3D and panorama).” We’re not convinced you’ll produce prize worthy captures with it, but you will at least be relatively smarter than you were before you got started. It’s $89.

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[ Product Page ] VIA [ Engadget ]

gTar Is Yet Another Entrant To The Educational Instrument Game

By David Ponce

There’s a growing trend where companies marry new technology to old instruments in order to help us learn how to play them. There’s a few examples: Ion Audio’s plastic LED fretboard guitar, which has a limited number of frets and is not a real instrument. There’s Tabber, which adds LEDs to a real guitar. There’s Rocksmith, which uses a real guitar but requires you to be tethered to a TV and a console. And now there’s gTar. It’s sort of a compromise between a fake plastic instrument and a full fledged guitar. It’s made of wood and has strings, but there are no pickups. The sound is instead generated by the iPhone you have to insert. The companion application has tunes you can play along, in three difficulty settings. The fretboard is covered in LEDs which light up at the right time, so you just put your fingers in the right place and strum. Since there are no pickups and the sound is generated by an app, they’re able to have this feature called SmartPlay which mutes out whatever wrong notes you play. This makes you feel like you’re better than you really are and could help keep you motivated.

The product is not complete yet. It’s going through a round of financing on Kickstarter and you could have pre-ordered yours for $350 if you’d gotten in early enough. Now it’s $399 for 85 more units, and $450 afterwards. Yeah, that’s a lot of money but don’t forget you’re not getting a toy controller here, but the closest thing to a real guitar without the need to carry a TV and console with you everywhere.

[ Project page ] VIA [ UberGizmo ]