A pair of robots named Augie and Cubetto want to teach children how to think in code in order to prepare them for the job market of tomorrow, and they're both at CES to show attendees and members of the press exactly how they'll do that. Cubetto is a moving robot that responds to drawings, objects, and colors on a special machine-washable quilt, using simple coloring as a method of teaching kids the basic logic of programming. Augie, meanwhile, is an augmented reality robot that can be programmed easily, and responds to content on a linked smart device, allowing kids to create their own augmented reality games for the robot to play with them.
Cubetto is a wood-shelled robot that responds to a physical coding language made of blocks as it rolls around on one of several special play quilts. These quilts can be play maps, stories, or coloring books. Kids place the control blocks onto a board, and then set Cubetto down on the quilt and press a button on the board. This makes Cubetto follow the instructions laid out on the board, and it will interact with any set pieces it encounters along the way. There's also an optional strap that can attach crayons to Cubetto, allowing kids to program it to make doodles on the quilts. Cubetto starter kits run from $225 to $295, with expansion packs costing between $29 and $45.
Augie can respond to programmed sequences of over 100 unique commands, which can control its movements, LCD screen, and sounds. Kids can record their own sounds to have Augie perform them as part of its program. The commands it can be programmed with can be conditional on the real world around it or augmented reality content seen on a linked smart device, or can be simple commands like telling it where to go or to perform a certain sound. Along with programming, Augie comes with a kit and tutorials that make it easy for kids to create their own augmented reality content, including games that kids can either program Augie to play or play with the robot. Augie is available now for $199.99.