The story of Dash and Dot is one of magic and wonder, beginning with a fatherly chap named Vikas Gupta.
Gupta was spending some much-needed time with his children after leaving Google in 2012. Now on this particular occasion, he was observing the explorative ways of his youngsters when he realised that there just wasn’t enough toys out there that encouraged his children’s curiosity and creativity, attributes imperative to the early years of childhood.
His idea? A robot.
As adults, we know robots as – not only in fact, but fiction – a somewhat gritty and greasy object, with the only inspirational and magical depictions with all their majesty shown in children’s books, and movies.
As a result, he softened his robot design to a toy-like manner, remediating some certainly familiar but loveable yellow minion type characters, while most educational toys don’t focus on their, I guess, aesthetic appeal to children until after development.
The result? The birth of spherical robots, Dash and Dot.
This pair of teaching critters not only offers functionality WITH a mobile device but also WITHOUT one, with games like memory, Simon say’s and a Magic-8-ball style fortune telling game.
However, with a mobile device?
Children have the ability to learn coding concepts from ages as young as 5. All they have to do is grab a mobile device and interact with a series of illustrated icons to ‘program’, or direct the robots to execute a sequence of commands, in turn building a solid foundation of basic programming and coding concepts.
Through these sequences, Dash can be used to give a present to someone, play music on toy musical instruments or for more complex actions involving voice commands (using sound sensors), object detection (using proximity detection) or interaction with other robots (using beacon senses).
The magic of the Wonder Workshop (creators of Dash and Dot) was simply the brainchild of what was meant to be, with Gupta himself saying,
“For kids, coding is a tool that gives you the ability to look at the world very differently. That ability will be a powerful aspect in whatever a child grows up to be. They don’t have to be a programmer or a computer scientist. They could be an architect, a doctor, anything.”