Even among coders, it’s been said that the act of coding can be endlessly boring. Imagine trying to get a kid to pick it up — let alone stick with it! The key with anything worth learning is to make it fun, and that’s doubly true for little ones. The three-man team at 3.14 is trying to do just that with its Kamibot.
The Kamibot is a LED-equipped puck-like robot designed to take on a number of different papercraft costumes for a revolving door of new personalities. For adults, that’s a gimmick. For little ones, it’s like getting a brand new toy every time they print out another skin from the company’s website. Kamibot is based on an open-source Arduino technology, allowing kids to dip their toes into wirelessly coding their Dracula or robot-skinned, well, robot with the MIT-developed Scratch language — all while keeping them entertained in the process.
The product features DC motors on its bottom to quickly change direction using a smartphone or tablet, a servo motor to change head direction, two IR sensors to follow black lines placed in front of it, or two programmable ultrasonic sensors to detect and maneuver around obstacles in its way. $99 gets backers one Kamibot, a Kamibot Tank Papercraft Skin, a Line Tracing Mat, a free smartphone app download, and a programming toolkit for PC.
With the deluge of connected devices in the real world, it’s obvious to see the benefit in learning to code at a young age. The Kamibot helps spark interest but doesn’t seem to go as far as products like Codie and the Ohbot 2, both of which seem to excel at layer lots of complexity over the initial gateway experience.