Only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in mathematics and interested in a career involving science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The skills gap is real, and consumer robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) company Anki is taking a major step to address this growing issue.
Today Anki introduced the Cozmo Code Lab to introduce kids and novices of all ages to coding. Code Lab uses a drop-and-drag programming interface, based off MIT’s Scratch programming language, to trigger actions that Cozmo will perform. Each block represents a specific action, movement, or animation.
The Cozmo app offers different challenges to teach users the foundations of basic programming.
Cozmo was built with Python, a rather complex programming language. With Code Lab, all the Python code was translated into the Scratch-like language. The goal with Code Lab is to introduce users to the most basic coding concepts and lead them to advanced languages like Python.
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Here are some of the things you’ll be able to make Cozmo do with Code Lab, which is available today via a free software update to the Cozmo app:
- Movement: Make Cozmo drive, from simple forward/backward/turns to intelligent motions like avoiding obstacles
- Actions: Control his body, from moving his lift and head, to changing lights or having him say short phrases
- Animations: Access dozens of the animations that make Cozmo’s personality, created by a team of film and gaming animators
- Events: Trigger highly intelligent actions like having Cozmo react to a face, a smile, or a frown, or use his cubes to trigger a reaction.
Anki says this fall it’ll add even more commands and functionality, putting more control at your fingertips. You’ll eventually be able to build full games, create new behaviors, and tap into the full range of AI powering Cozmo.
“Everything we do at Anki is in an effort to advance the state of robotics, whether that is kids learning coding for the first time, or Ph.D. students solving complex computer vision challenges in a lab with Cozmo,” says Boris Sofman, CEO and co-founder at Anki. “With the launch of Code Lab, Cozmo now helps kids develop the logic and reasoning skills that programming requires. Based on the Scratch Blocks project, a collaboration between MIT Media Lab and Google, we now have a powerful tool that gives anyone interested in learning to code a robot the opportunity to unleash their creativity. There’s simply no consumer robotics platform available like Cozmo.”
Anki also announced that in September 2017 it’ll release new color treads for Cozmo. Priced at $14.99 and available for pre-order starting on 6/26, the treads will come in a pack of four colors including Osmosis Blue, Luminous Lime, New Dawn Yellow and Crimson Flame.
Here are some sample Cozmo projects that were built using Code Lab.
Cozmo Driving and Sneezing
Cozmo Intruder Alarm