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September 19, 2017

Cue the CleverBot is a coding robot for older kids

by John_A

Kids’ robotics company Wonder Workshop is launching two new robots designed to introduce children to coding in a fun, hands-on way. First up is Cue, the slightly older sibling of the company’s 2014 robot offering Dash (or at the very least it’s Dash with a pre-teen makeover, as the bright primary colors have been replaced with a sleeker, cooler palette, a bit more fitting for its 11+ audience). Cue comes with a new AI engine that lets code-curious kids actively engage with the robot (and its four different avatars) via a text-based chat function that includes a vocabulary of more than 170,000 words.

Via Cue’s companion app — available on iOS, Android and Kindle — kids can use a simple block program or JavaScript text mode to take the reins in a freestyle coding environment, playing with all kinds of cool features such as proximity sensors, encoders, a gyro, an accelerometer and a microphone. And in November, Cue will support Apple’s Swift programming language through a new Swift Playgrounds Playbook.

For younger or newer coders, there’s the Dot Creativity Kit. The kit comes with a single sensor-laden robot (bright green) and a bunch of DIY projects that range from active play and construction to crafting and codebreaking. It’s complemented by three downloadable apps — Wonder, Blockly and Go (on iOS, Android and Kindle) — which strip coding back to basics, making it accessible while keeping it fun.

“By the next decade, there will be one million more tech jobs in the US than qualified graduates to fill them, and by 2050 economists forecast that over 40 percent of jobs will require skills to develop, code, and manage robotic and AI systems,” said Wonder Workshop CEO and Co-founder, Vikas Gupta. “Wonder Workshop’s mission is to give kids of all ages the tools and confidence to take on the jobs of the future.”

Both Cue ($200) and the Dot Creativity Kit ($80) are available to pre-order now.

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