Robot helps coders to level up

July 30, 2020 //By Rich Pell
Coding robot brings classroom learning to the home
Consumer robotics company iRobot has announced a new educational product offering - an easy-to-use and customizable coding robot - that it says brings classroom learning into the home.

The Root rt0 coding robot is equipped with many of the same features and sensors found on the original designed-for-the-classroom Root rt1, but is available starting at $129. The robot offers over 20 reactive sensors and features, says the company, giving it the ability to drive, draw, detect touch, light up, and play music.

"Coding has become a 21st century skill as fundamental to learning as reading, writing and math," says Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot. "Our vision is to provide a way for children of any skill-level, from pre-readers to experts, to learn to code. By offering two versions of Root - a lower-cost version for those seeking quality STEM robots at-home, and the original Root for more holistic in-classroom settings - iRobot can make learning to code more accessible to educators, students, and parents."

Like the Root rt1, the Root rt0 is a two-wheeled, mobile platform that operates on a flat surface. The robot comes to life - e.g., drawing, making music, and exploring its surroundings - through coding commands given by the user in the companion iRobot Coding App.

The platform offers three different levels of coding language, from simple graphical blocks for young children to full-text coding for more advanced users. Its auto-level converter instantly translates code from one learning level to another, says the company, making iRobot Coding easily approachable for beginners, while growing with coders as they gain experience, enabling them to seamlessly "level up" to more advanced programming.

A learning library available on the iRobot Education website provides the robot with hours of lessons, projects, and activities that support both individual and group participation. With Root rt0, says the company, users can play games like "Guess the Picture" in which players are challenged to investigate pre-made programs, hypothesize what the code will create, and then be the first to guess the robot sketch in action.

The company has also introduced the


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