Kickstarter project to teach kids robotics programming passes $60,000


Arlington’s KinderLab Robotics has raised $66,000 with four days to go in its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to provide a kit that teaches four- to seven-year-olds the basics of programming robots.

The project had hit its $50,000 campaign goal earlier this month. More than 300 people have backed the project so far.

The robot kit, KIBO, aims to engage youngsters in building instruction sets that control the actions of robots by creating lines of code, through the use of wooden blocks. Using blocks to teach robotics programming — instead of smartphones or iPads — helps children gain the “understanding that technology isn’t magic, but is something that they can learn to master,” the company said.

From a description of the project:

Each block represents an action for the robot. Children use the blocks to build a program that controls KIBO’s motion and sounds, and uses sensors. KIBO’s sensors work with the wooden programming blocks to detect sound, light and distance. After building the program, children scan the sequence of blocks with the robot body, then press a single button to start KIBO.

The robotic kit has been designed by professor Marina Umaschi Bers of Tufts University’s Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, who is co-founder of KinderLab Robotics.

Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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