Technology has quickly become a norm in society. From computers, to smart homes, to autonomous cars, technology has changed the way we live and interact with the world. In this day and age, it is vitally important to introduce technological concepts early. Either to stimulate an interest in this field or to gain legibility into advanced concepts, instruction in technology is needed.
At CES 2019, companies are attempting to tackle how to make learning technology fun, accessible, and informative. The two featured here are winners of the CES Best of Innovations 2019 Award: Kano and Robolink are creating technology to teach and inspire.
Kano Harry Potter Coding Kit
While tech can seem magical at times, Kano took this literally with their Harry Potter Coding Kit. Aimed at anyone six years or older, this coding kit helps people grasp the basics of coding in an easily digestible way.
Using a block coding system – large chunks of code are prewritten but can be rearranged for different effect – the Kano system teaches users the importance of several different coding topics without delving too deeply into the code itself. In addition, adjustments to the code affect how spells works; certain spells will have greater or lesser effect based on how the code was written.
Because of this, users can immediately see the impact of their program in challenges based on the Harry Potter universe. Need to disarm an enemy? There’s code for that!
Autonomous vehicles are becoming more commonplace, but the technology behind this innovation is still nebulous to many. Robolink Zümi attempts to change this discourse by providing an easily accessible and educational approach to artificial intelligence and self-driving cars.
Zümi is a coding kit that comes with a small car and prepackaged scripts. The car itself is almost like a toy car, but comes with a Raspberry Pi Zero single-board computer. It also has a screen where the front windshield is, displaying two eyes that respond to your presence.
When it comes to the prepackaged scripts, Zümi leads users through accessible tutorials meant to teach foundational tools like AI, machine learning, machine vision, and more. Its block-based interface means that no computer science experience is required; by simply placing a prewritten block of code in the program, users can develop the necessary skills and knowledge without going into the nitty-gritty of the code. For users with more experience in coding, Zümi is full hackable.
Intended for middle and high school students, Zümi is a perfect introduction to the otherwise complex topics in autonomous driving technology. They plan to ship the product out to their Kickstarter backers starting in May 2019.
Both Kano and Robolink have created technology to make new advancements more accessible. With the rapid improvement in commercial technologies, both the Harry Potter Coding Kit and Zümi are surely appreciated and needed!