Anki’s palm-sized Cozmo can play games and dance around, but now the adorable robot can teach your kids to code. Starting today, Cozmo owners will be able to program their playful robot pals using Code Lab, a visual programming platform for beginners.
The platform is similar to MIT’s Scratch and takes a different approach to programming than Anki’s previously-released Cozmo SDK (which required some knowledge of Python). Code Lab offers an intuitive interface that anyone can pick up. Dragging and dropping blocks into a sequence lets budding coders tap into Cozmo’s core features: movement, actions, and animations. In addition, special events like a face, smile, or frown can trigger a Cozmo reaction. Essentially, owners can now program new behaviors and games for their Cozmo robots.
“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,” said Boris Sofman, Anki’s CEO and co-founder. “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.”
Code Lab is available as a free update to the Cozmo app. This Fall, Anki plans to expand Code Lab with even more commands. Judging from this Anki promo image, the platform will share a greater resemblance with Scratch, and that’s a good thing. There’s likely to be a plethora of coding goodies like booleans, loops, and operators, allowing Cozmo owners to further hone their programming skills.