26 Feb Meet Dash!
It is easy to assume that working with robots is best done with older ages. After all, robots must be expensive and fragile and hard to understand. How could younger children possibly use robots?
That’s just what we set out to do when we ordered four Dash robots for Spark Labs. Manufactured by Wonder Workshop, Dash is “a child’s first real robot friend.” He’s made out of sturdy plastic and a robust motor, both of which allow him to keep up with an active youngster. Dash connects through Bluetooth to an iPad or an iPhone.
Once connected, you can do all sorts of games and activities with him! Wonder Workshop produced five free apps you can use to interact with your robot. Here at the library, our favorite apps for younger children are Path and Go. Go allows you to rename your robot, drive him around any space, make noises, and flash different colored lights. Path is a gentle introduction to programming. You draw a path onto the tablet’s screen, and tap Dash. He will then drive the path in real life.
Once those concepts are mastered, you can move onto more challenging apps like Blockly and Wonder. Wonder is full of quests, like how to program your robot to turn around when he hears a clap or, more importantly, to stop driving if he’s about to run into something. Blockly uses Scratch coding and walks participants through a more formal introduction to programming languages.
In February we had a special robot story time for preschoolers. With adult assistance, some our youngest customers were able to successfully drive their robots around our youth services department. We’re always excited to see customers of any age learn new skills! Keep an eye out for future classes with our new robots!