Children’s toys are amongst the last places you’d expect to find toxic chemicals. After all,…
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that the ‘child-friendly coding‘ is an hot-topic for us (if you have not read the past articles on the subject, you can retrieve here or here); our attention comes both from the boom of products that have populated the toy market and from the great educational potential of these games. In this article we present Robo Wunderkind, an easy-to-build robot that has just successfully completed a second campaign on Kickstarter.
The box consists, in its largest version, of 22 modules which include programmable and non-programmable parts. Among the pieces included in the box there are also some that make the robot compatible with, hear hear, Legos! This simple design choice actually opens up to the user, child or adult, many possibilities for customization and extension of the toy, without however raising the price or the structural complexity.
The simplicity and essential reduction of the pieces is what particulary interested us about this robot; the modules are divided into 6 categories, each of them with a specific function and an identifying color. The chromatic code and the direct relationship between color and action makes this toy extremely intuitive, both in the coding and in the construction phase. Although the number of pieces is limited, this represents a double positive constraint for an easy-to-build robot: from a strategic point of view, production is simplified, while the gaming experience is stimulating for the user who can invent new configurations starting from a small but not restricting number of pieces.
Coding takes place via the Robo Universe App which reflects the game’s clarity and formal cleanliness mechanisms; the interface is intuitive and the app can manage various degrees of complexity of the robot through three game levels for children aged 5 and up. For the more ‘nerdy’ a second app allows access to the ‘core’ functionality of Robo Wunderkind Blocks through the API. The management of the game difficulty is part of the ‘Learning by doing’ process typical of STEM toys; this makes the toy also suitable for schools, that can use Robotics kit education and a specific page on the site with a series of activities for teachers.
Finally, a great value of the inventors has been building a passionate and loyal community made up of strategic partnerships and creators, children, parents, teachers who remain updated on the latest news and share their creations through blogs and social channels. This part should not be underestimated in this category of products, which achieve notoriety and important development levels thanks to word of mouth and an open source approach; ideas start from the bottom and thanks to the network of users they improve until they are integrated into the toy as standard solutions and functionalities.
Robo Wunderkind, an easy-to-build robot, could have been one of the many products that ride the wave of ‘child-friendly coding’, but credit must be given to its designers for having distinguished themselves on the market through simple but effective design solutions and a well-designed development strategy.