Artie 3000 is one of the rare toys that is both fun and truly STEM. Young children will see Artie as a cute robot that they control with simple drag and drop programming on a laptop or tablet. The robot draws with a pen by rolling over a piece of paper. The simple programming commands include forward motion, turns, and pen up/pen down.
Artie’s instructions are clear and crisp. For younger children, adult help may be needed for initial setup such as WiFi connections and understanding of the drag and drop commands. Importantly, Artie does not connect to the internet, nor does it need a home network. The Wifi connection directly links the toy to your laptop/tablet. Note that we encountered one glitch-Artie does not move until the pen alignment cap is removed.
The program interface is easy to use and can be understood by children with early-level reading skills. Users will learn how to use the control commands as listed above but also the rudiments of block programming. Educational opportunities beyond programming include measurement (motion controls are in inches or millimeters), angles for turning. And drawing by robot is fun.
Artie can grow with your child both in terms of STEM but also creativity. Artie can be controlled via sophisticated computer languages (e.g. Python) that will bring new challenges and opportunities for interested children. We discovered play beyond drawing, such as marking out routes with tape for Artie to follow along the floor. The challenge was to program the robot to trace out the course with as few programming steps as possible. We recommend painters tape to stay on Mom’s good side.
John Green ©2019 Parents’ Choice
John Green is an economist in Washington DC and father of three. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.