Kids these days are using digital devices more than ever in history. Smartphones and tablets have replaced traditional toys for many children, which makes them open to learning more things such as the basics of programming. Tapping into this reality, a group of Japanese tech-savvy people are creating an educational toy for toddlers guided by the vision of using technology to shape children’s future. It’s called KUMIITA, a robot that can teach kids from 0 to 3 years of age the basics of programming in a fun and engaging way.
By stimulating the creative and logical parts of a toddler’s mind, KUMIITA opens up a new way for kids to equally enjoy play time and learning things at the same time. It uses a simple approach to teaching kids programming in the most fun way possible. By employing visual elements to serve as cues, it aims to bring out the creativeness and thinking skills within kids. KUMIITA features modular command panels that work as instructions working in sequence, and it takes to assemble these panels and arranging them in countless ways to create executable programs. The robot is designed to render incorrectly arranged panels as well. This makes it possible for toddlers to think and discover ways on how to correct them.
KUMIITA uses novel technology to make the entire learning experience possible. Starting with the colorful visual command panels, a set of small dots uniquely printed on each instruction panel are made possible through a patented Grid Onput technology. Both the 2D scanner on the robot and the panels make use of this technology. These dots serve as scannable codes for the robot unit to read and be interpreted as command executions. The printed dots are invisible in plain sight and can only be read by the 2D scanner on the KUMIITA robot. This technology allows standard 48-bit instructions to be stored, with the possibility of storing up to 108-bit data for more complex commands.
There are 30 command panels that make up a standard KUMIITA robot package. These panels include a start and finish panel to establish robot endpoints, arrows to direct the robot in four basic directions, color change panels that light up the robot’s LED lights, animal and instrument sounds, and even panels for playing distinct musical notes. As the robot unit comes in contact with the panels, it scans the Grid Onput codes and renders specific instructions. Toddlers will enjoy playing with KUMIITA all day, thanks to its ability to last up to 24 hours on removable alkaline batteries.
With its ultimate goal of enabling young children to learn basic programming at an early age, KUMIITA takes advantage of modern technology for the purpose of teaching kids the value of programming while allowing them to have fun and explore things by themselves.