Play-i (www.play-i.com), a company passionate about making programming fun and easy to learn for the next generation, today announced the launch of its crowdfunding campaign (www.play-i.com) to produce robots that children can play with and program. Play-i’s mission is to give young children an engaging platform where they can experience the joy and magic of programming at a young age.
According to Code.org, by 2020 there will be 1.4 million more computer science jobs than there will be people to fill those jobs. And yet less than 2.4% of graduates study computer science during college. Play-i aims to change that by getting children interested in programming at a young age. Play-i robots are fun and engaging, and make learning to program an enjoyable experience. Play-i robots are affordable for every family — and just as much fun for parents as for their children.
Play-i is creating a visual programming environment for its robots on touch devices for kids, that meets children at their level of cognitive ability and motor skills, starting as early as age five. Unlike other programming languages where children are first taught the syntax, Play-i focuses on learning through exploration, play and discovery.
“As a father, I know that a child’s world is about play. Play-i robots make abstract concepts of programming concrete — unlocking a whole new world of imagination, creativity and play for children,” said Vikas Gupta, co-founder and CEO of Play-i.
“Every design choice we’ve made for our robots was to deliver play and programming as a priority, while also keeping our price down.” Play-i robots are expressive, interactive and completely programmable. The programming interface for children requires no previous ability to read or write. The robots are playful — they can dance, play songs and even collect the toys on the floor — and can be programmed by children wirelessly using a touch device, like an iPad.
“What makes Play-i’s robots so unique and special is that they really connect with younger kids on an emotional level and make programming such a seamless and playful experience,” said Mike Dooley, the original Product Manager for LEGO Mindstorms and now a VP of Product and Business Development at iRobot and adviser for Play-i. “They are leveraging a legacy of ideas from research on computing, robotics and children’s cognitive development, but have created something new and so accessible that even kids in the 1st or 2nd grade can easily play with programming, and in the process, construct rich models for understanding the world.”
“Play-i gets how a developmentally appropriate introduction to programming can pave the way towards a lifelong interest and aptitude in computer science,” said Vibha Sazawal, Lecturer and Visiting Research Scientist at the University of Maryland and adviser for Play-i. Play-i robots will be available in the Summer of 2014 and are priced at $149 and $49 during the campaign, reduced from the $199 and $69 retail price. Crowdfunding and detailed features of Bo and Yana are located here: www.play-i.com