Innovation That Matters

Japanese robot teaches toddlers about coding


The Kumiita droid trains youngsters in logic and problem solving by navigating panels which represent different programming commands.

Japanese Icon Corp is currently crowdfunding for a new concept that’s designed to get kids understanding the thinking patterns of programming from a very young age. So young, in fact, that before they can even speak. Welcome to Kumiita, a little robot that looks like a salt and pepper shaker.

The child can arrange the control panels how they like, then put Kumiita on the start panel to begin its journey. As it crosses the panels, the robot follows commands such as direction, rotation (which is what the child will need to think about when trying to get Kumiita to the finish panel), plus a range of more aesthetic and fun actions such as cat noises and flashing lights (things kids love).

Toshiko Tsuchiya, President of Icon Corp explains: “Our future plans are to increase the variety of command panels, allowing children to explore the infinite possibilities open to them.”

At the time of writing Kumiita has almost hit USD 26,000 of its USD 30,000 target and has over 20 days to raise that last few grand. The smallest pledge that will get customers a unit is currently USD 195, which are targeted to ship December this year.

It’s not the first time we’ve seen toys being used to get kids thinking logically. The Roominate doll range was specifically developed to get girls interested in engineering and tech, and Primo’s Cubetto is a remarkably similar concept to Kumiita (just slightly older toddlers). Is there maybe too much focus on education being built into a child’s playtime?



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