By: Robert Loos
October 01, 2014
What began as Play-i in 2012 has now been renamed to Wonder Workshop as they prepare to release their educational robots Dash and Dot, formerly known as Bo and Yana.
Starting out as a small group of parents, it only took them less than one and a half year to grow into a passionate team of 30 members that were able to develop an idea into prototypes resulting in products ready for shipping.
As the current school system in most countries seems to be focused on standardized performance instead of individual capabilities and progress, the aim of the Wonder Workshop team is to teach children to think for themselves. Especially now more and more things are automated, people are not stimulated to figure out how things work or use their own imagination and creativity.
Since technology and automation is increasingly part of everyday life, Wonder Workshop tries to stimulate this creativity and curiosity by engaging children in robot coding activities, making them experience that coding can be meaningful and fun.
Led by the founders Vikas, Saurabh, and Mikal, this resulted in the two playful educational robots Dash and Dot that teach kids about robotics and programming in a fun and engaging way.
The new names are a reference to the shapes of 1 and 0, those two binary numbers that form the backbone of computing. Dot is the smaller robot that can be programmed to play a song or tella story, while Dash is equipped with wheels and can be programmed to explore.
In order to fund their robotics project, Wonder Workshop launched a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2013 raising $1,4 million.
Introducing Dash and Dot, formerly known as Bo and Yana
Dash and Dot are programmed using software called "Blockly", a drag-and-drop programming language that can be used by kids as young as 5. They will have as much fun playing with Dash and Dot as they would with any other toy, all while learning the basics of coding.
Blockly also offers more complex actions for kids aged 8 – 12, and teenagers can use Wonder Workshop’s open API to build applications for Dash and Dot using Objective C and Java.
Wonder Workshop will start shipping the premier Dash and Dot robots on October 11th, with the first sold-out batch going to the backers who funded the original Kickstarter campaign.
You can pre-order Dash and Dot and get your robot by January 2015.