KinderLab Robotics to teach four to seven year-olds to code with $50,000 Kickstarter campaign

Posted By KinderLab Robotics On May 30, 2014 in Press Releases

With KIBO, children learn logic and programming fundamentals through touch, sight and sound

ARLINGTON, MA – May 30, 2014 – KinderLab Robotics, a creator of toys and educational tools that teach young children to understand logic and to program, has launched a campaign on Kickstarter for KIBO — a robot kit that teaches youngsters fundamentals of programming through intuitive, age- and developmentally-appropriate technology. With a funding goal of $50,000 to manufacture the robotic kit and take it to market, pledges range from $5 to $3,000, with a commitment of $219 for a programmable robotic kit.

KIBO engages four- to seven-year-olds in building instruction sets that control the actions of robots by creating programs, or lines of code, through the use of familiar ‘manipulative’ wooden blocks. Each block represents an action for the robot. Children use the blocks to build a program that controls KIBO’s motion and sounds, and uses sensors. KIBO’s sensors work with the wooden programming blocks to detect sound, light and distance. After building the program, children scan the sequence of blocks with the robot body, then press a single button to start KIBO. Children can use KIBO’s art platforms to decorate and personalize the robot.KIBO develops young children’s cognitive, social, emotional and motor skills, encourages open-ended play and combines technology with expressive arts and is customizable. It allows parents and teachers to encourage creativity, integrating expressive arts and cultural learning with fundamental math, science, and literacy.

The robotic kit is based on 15 years of research in child learning with technology, and has been designed by professor Marina Umaschi Bers and her expert team at Tufts University’s Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development. Umaschi Bers is the director of the DevTech research group at Tufts and the chief scientist at KinderLab Robotics. Umaschi Bers was inspired to create the robots because she did not want her three young children sitting in front of a screen, but she wanted them to learn programming and logic while having fun. KIBO’s prototype has been tested by 245 Pre-K to second grade students and 35 teachers. “It was our top priority to create a platform based on the way that children learn,” Umaschi Bers said. “While there are robot kits available, they are designed by engineers and are made for children aged eight and upwards.

From a developmental perspective, it’s important that children learn the basics behind programming and logic at an early age while engaging in open-ended play that encourages problem solving and experimentation. When you’re a five year-old, there’s not much you can build and control in your world, but with KIBO you can make a robot that looks and moves exactly the way you want it to.” Mitch Rosenberg, CEO of KinderLab Robotics, added: “KIBO is developmentally appropriate and adds value to all areas of standard curriculum – not just STEM. It’s based on simple wooden blocks with no need for smartphones, iPads or computer screens. It’s important that children grow up with the understanding that technology isn’t magic, but is something that they can learn to master.”

Nancy Kincaid, early childhood teacher in Morgantown, West Virginia, said: “This can pervade every aspect of the curriculum, and it can hook kids that aren’t traditional learners. Maybe their intelligence lies in a different area than what we emphasize in the traditional schools. I think it will be very powerful to get those kids hooked and teach them with this.” Once funded, KIBO will be assembled in Arlington, Massachusetts. Parents and teachers will also have access to detailed and customizable support including online and hard copy curriculum materials, design journals, worksheets, workbooks, assessments, games and classroom ‘expert badges’.

To support KIBO and KinderLab Robotics on Kickstarter, please click here or tweet us at @KinderLabRobot.

About KinderLab Robotics Inc. KinderLab Robotics creates toys and educational tools that enable young children to learn critical technical, problem- solving, and cognitive skills in a developmentally appropriate and playful way. While STEM education products exist for middle- and high-school students, KinderLab uniquely fills a need for a critical population: children under the age of seven. KinderLab products are based on over 15 years of academic and field research into how young children learn foundational concepts in programming and engineering by integrating them into a multidisciplinary curriculum that includes literacy, the expressive arts and cultural studies. KinderLab Robotics is headquartered in Arlington, Massachusetts. It was founded by Marina Umaschi Bers and Mitch Rosenberg in May 2013. The first KIBO prototype, KIWI, was created in the DevTech labs of Tufts University in 2008.

For more information about KinderLab Robotics and its educational products, please visit www.kinderlabrobotics.com.Media contact:Hazel Buttersor Jackie FraserPrompt Boston on behalf of KinderLab Robotics Inc. Tel: 857 277 5140