TacoBot Teaches Coding and STEM as Stackable Robot
Tom Spendlove posted on December 22, 2018 |

RoboSpace is a group of engineers, programmers, and makers with a goal of developing robotic projects for the next generation. After their first project IronBot the group is back with TacoBot, a stackable robot to teaching coding and robotics to kids.
Right away, it should be noted that this project is not associated with TacoBot, a Slack-powered system developed and sadly discarded by the good people at Taco Bell.

TacoBot allows kids to play games or program using the ioS 9.0+ / Android 4.3+ compatible app. The bots are stackable in four levels, giving learners a physical path that follows the logical path of programming. The base controls movement, the body controls interaction, the head controls expression and the hat controls perception. Extensions can be added to the body - shovel, plate and catapult are already offered - and add to the robot's capabilities.

The system is controlled by an STM32 processor, and the rechargeable lithium battery is said to last more than 48 hours on a charge. The full size without attachments is 117 x 90 x 147 millimeters and weights 1.2 kilograms. Five different sensors are available as hats for the robots; tracking hat, infrared hat, sound hat, ultrasonic hat and button hat.

More than thirty games are already developed for TacoBot and a progressive curriculum is built into the app and the website. The button hat lets users program between the app and the robot at the same time. TacoBot is entering the crowded STEM / coding / robotics marketplace with an eye on shipping in early 2019. The two things I like the most about the system is the physical stacking progression that reinforces the progression required in push button programming, and the beefiness of the robots. Without scale in the promotional materials my brain automatically decided these robots were Lego figure in size but the seeing a child use one shows off the 147 millimeter height. There's also a section on the campaign page outlining safety considerations that the group has made in the design and manufacture of TacoBot, something I rarely see with educational robot systems. The TacoBot campaign is already successful and ends on December 28, 2018.

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