Plobot is a new project on Kickstarter that aims to teach kids concepts that are essential to coding through fun and simple play. This adorable little bot receives instructions from your child through a variety of command cards that initiate individual actions which can be combined into a series of movements, similar to a computer program. Up to 50 steps can be combined in one sequence.
To provide instruction to the Plobot, the child touches or “swipes” one or a series of the brightly colored, illustrated action cards to the back of the robot’s head. After the robot has received the instructions, it takes off to perform them.
The Plobot base set comes with 10 command cards, six of which are “Function Cards” that direct the robot to execute one of the following functions:
- Play – Executes all the steps programmed into Plobot’s memory using the Command Cards
- Store – Records a series of cards to be used with the Repeat card
- Reset – Clears Plobot’s memory to allow a new sequence of cards
- Repeat – Activates all the steps stored by the Store card
- Rainbow – Treats your child to a brilliant display of colors!
- Dance – Special wild card that makes Plobot dance, sing, and light up in a surprising new way each time this card is used
The other four cards are for instructing the Plobot to perform the following motions:
- Forward – Moves one step forward
- Backward – Moves one step back
- Turn Right – Turns 90° to the right
- Turn Left – Turns 90° to the left
Expansion Cards Add New Abilities
Additional expansion card sets unlock more possibilities for the Plobot. Color cards, in all the colors of the rainbow, can make the Plobot glow in a specific color at a specific point in the program. Modifier cards make Plobot programs even more sophisticated. By swiping the “Boost” card prior to another function, you can boost the effect of the next function, the “Pause” card will stop the Plobot between actions and the “Random” card instructs the Plobot to repeat the previous step a random number of times.
Sensor cards include “Listen” which will make the Plobot continue to the next step after detecting a loud noise, “See” which enables the Plobot to move on to the next command if it detects an obstacle, and “Feel” instructs the Plobot to move on to the next command after it senses being moved or tilted.
Base Stations Help Plobot Tell a Story
Three “base stations” are also included with the base set. These stations act as goals for the Plobot, giving the child a place to aim for in programming, and also help the child enact a story through the robot. For instance, the child might program the robot to move from the “home” station to the “ice cream shop” station and once arriving at the shop and receiving an ice cream, the robot will do a dance. The base set includes a Home, School and Ice Cream Shop base station. Expansions are available for the base stations as well, including Square, Market, Circus and Club.
Making Code Learning Engaging for Young Learners
Another fun feature of the Plobot is that it is made of easily washable plastic so your child can draw on the face to personalize their robot. The Plobot’s flat back is compatible with Duplo building blocks so you can even personalize your Plobot by building a unique structure.
The purpose of Plobot, in the words of the developer, is to “Take code learning beyond the computer screen and make it more engaging for young learners.” With the illustrated cards, children can easily piece together a series of actions by lining up the cards and swiping them through the robot, teaching them to create logical sequence of steps that achieve the desired objective.
The first Plobots are scheduled to begin shipping in March of 2017 and the base set is priced at $79.00
For more information visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1365116576/plobot-a-robot-coding-companion