Robots For Kids And Developers
Written by Lucy Black   
Sunday, 10 November 2013

Play-i, a Californian start up of former engineers for Google, Apple and Frog Design, is taking pre-orders for Yana, a storyteller robot, and Bo, an explorer.  Although the initial batch of "consumer" robots has already sold out there's still the opportunity to obtain first edition models by being among the first 100 devs with the API.

Bo and Yana are going to be the must have kids toys of  the future - well certainly if any member of the household is a geek. They are the designed to "bring the magic of programming to children everywhere" and in view of the current emphasis of teaching kids to code make the perfect early introduction to computer science.

On the programming side, Bo and Yana offer possibilities to suit all ages. For kids aged 5-8 there's a visual programming interface that weaves in music, stories and animation and gives the opportunity to learn coding by looking at the code and tweaking it. At the next level kids can use Scratch and Blockly and going beyond that can write code and and build applications for iOS and Android using our API. 

Watch the video to be convinced:

 

This first project from Play-i is the brainchild of Vikas Gupta, Google’s former head of consumer payments and is using a crowd funding model to gauge customer interest and gain feedback from early adopters. It was pledged nearly $150,000 of its target $250,000 in the first 24 hours of publicizing Yana and Bo and it currently has 155% funding, which is addition to $1 million in seed funding from Google Ventures, Madrona Venture Group, and other investors which it announced its plans earlier this year.

The pre-order window is open until November 26 and due to the strength of demand Play-i added a second batch of 2000 robots with Early Backer outfits once stocks of the first 1000 were exhausted. At the time of writing there are around 1300 of these remaining. Having reached its first stretch goal, Play-i is now also offering accessories. 

 

 

There are, however,still  22 of 100 Developer's Packs available.  Priced at $499 they have a hefty $299 markup on top of the cost of a Bo and Yana Pack, but come with two promises:

You will get the very first robots from our manufacturing run. Play with and program Bo & Yana before anyone else gets their hands on them!

As one of the first 100 developers at launch, you get to help define the API.

This is an offer which any developer with an interest in how to develop young minds while having fun with robotics will find very tempting.

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