A Peek At Root, A Bot That’s Capable Of Teaching Programming To Children
- Dec 05, 2016
- Sudipto Das
Programming has become a part of the basic literacy. Several bots are available in the market that can serve this purpose effectively from the likes of Dash and Dot, Ozobots, Lego Mindstorms etc. Root is a bot that is made in a similar image having the same objective. In this article, we are going to discuss a few key features of the bot and its role in making programming interesting and fun.
A brief introduction
Root is a tiny hexadecimal educational robot that utilizes a programming environment called “Square.” Such specific coding environment is accessed through an iPad. This bot is tailor-made for starters who want to get themselves acclimatized to the wonders of programming. To be honest, this bot is more about problem-solving and less about coding. This characteristic of Root makes it a standout among the crowd because problem-solving capabilities are a part and parcel of programming. Many educational bots take a straight plunge into the technicalities of coding which is well and good but they seldom explore this significant aspect of programming. This significant feature makes Root a unique one among the crowd.
Take a peek at the image below where the Root bot is depicted in action.
The Root bot in action
(Image courtesy- https://www.rootrobot.io/)
The bot has various abilities. We’ve highlighted a few significant ones for your reference.
- Magnetic: The robot is able to move vertically on a whiteboard with a metal backside or on any regular horizontal metal-backed surface.
- Position: The bot has an accelerometer, a gyroscope and other wheel encoders that are mainly used for the sole purpose of driving accurate distances and angles.
- Touch responses: Root can respond effectively to the real world by using 2 front bumpers and 4 capacitive touch points.
- Ambient light: The bot has a light sensor that is used to detect the presence of light in a room.
- Drawing and erasing: Root is capable of lifting up a marker and scribble with the same on the white board surface.
- Lights and Sounds: Root has 15 multicolor LEDs. The bot plays several musical notes to express its mood and share its personality.
- Color sensors: The bot has 32 color sensors to identify colors and perform tasks accordingly according to the program.
The bot is tailor-made to fit into every classroom. Root has a special standout feature where it can drive automatically according to the program on a white board and draw different shapes and figures on the board.
Programming with this bot has no requirement of a unique setup. The programming experience becomes fun and positive at the same time. The users will be able to do virtually anything with the bot according to their choice/requirement. They can improvise to their heart’s content by using several trial and error methods. Such a learning experience becomes extremely gratifying.
The price of Root is also pretty reasonable enough when compared to other similar educational bots mentioned in this bracket.
Root can be used to draw any design, say a form of race track on the white board. The bots can used as race cars and race each other on the same track. There’s also another specific option where one can program Root to speed up whenever it’s driving over a color resembling green. The bot can also be programmed to come to the stop whenever it encounters the color red.
The bot can be programmed to flee whenever it senses danger. This danger can be anything say, a beam of light from a flashlight can also be programmed to resemble a danger. There are many other options. Your only limitation can be your imagination.
You can go through the Root official website to know about the technical aspects of the bot in greater detail.
So you see that the bot has tremendous potentials in igniting a student’s passion in programming. But it does have a minor drawback. The looks aren’t very catchy. Though the features are effective, the appearance of the bot creates an issue especially among kids. You can still give it a go if you feel that it satisfies all your coding requirements. After all, anything that blends programming with robotics deserves to be praised.
Sudipto writes technical and educational content periodically for wizert.com and backs it up with extensive research and relevant examples. He's an avid reader and a tech enthusiast at the same time with a little bit of “Arsenal Football Club” thrown in as well. He's got a B.Tech in Electronics and Instrumentation.
Follow him on twitter @SudiptoDas1993
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