Sparki, the Playful Way to Learn Robotics
Meet Sparki, younger brother of Hexy the Hexapod. Cute, huh? The ArcBotics robot family is expanding, and you’re invited to celebrate the happy event.
The designers at ArcBotics introduced Hexy to teach students at high school level or above advanced robotics, kinematics and programming, they say, and as well as the basics, Hexy can also bust some cool dance moves, doodle, write words and more.
Many people of all ages are still waiting to leap into robotics and programming, though. The field of coding can seem intimidating to those on the outside. How can we break in?
Well, Sparki is billed as “an affordable, easy to use, and fun intro to programming, electronics and robotics for all ages (11+). It is simple enough for beginners, while being feature-packed enough to be a must-have for pro-users.”
We think our favorite part should be that Sparki is a great way to introduce robotics and programming into education, giving kids a chance to have fun while learning skills that will serve them well when they enter the workforce. However, we must admit that we’re most intrigued by ArcBotics’ suggestion that Sparki is “available to do your bidding.” We’re assuming world domination is included. Who could resist?
When you take Sparki out of the box, you’ll discover it comes pre-programmed to move, beep and blink using the remote control. No frustrating assembly is required, so you and Sparki can hit the ground running. Once you’ve played with the robot for a while (hey, we’re all kids at heart), you’ll be ready to get to work. You’ll start your robot adventures using simple block-based programming that’s geared to grade-schoolers, but works for everyone. After that, you’ll move up to C/C++ programming.
Both Sparki and Hexy are based on and teach you Arduino, which is an open-source electronics platform built on easy-to-use hardware and software. Sparki has 16 expansion ports, so you can easily add to it if you find something Sparki doesn’t already do.
ArcBotics thinks of everything. The company gives you a hefty whack of computing ability with Sparki, and it goes a step further, making all of its files open-source and available, free of charge. Your Sparki is truly your Sparki.
Of course learning to interact with a computer can be a lot of fun as well as mind-opening, but Sparki also teaches you about motors, sensors, speakers, LEDs, switches, displays and more.
Professional educators have written lessons for Sparki, and again, there’s no charge for them either. The company even updates them on its website, expanding their coding and uploading new tutorials. Sparki gives you samples of code, and the lessons use fun activities such as drawing and doodling, making music, and navigating mazes. You’ll probably not even realize you’re learning.
Need proof of Sparki’s educational qualifications? No problem. Sparki is used by students at more than 1,000 K-12 schools, and also trundles the hallowed hallways of Harvard, Cambridge University, MIT, Stanford, Princeton and the University of Tokyo, among others. The robotics system grows along with your knowledge and skill.