About this project
Meet the first robot in the world that develops together with children. With Photon they can:
Children love to learn by experimenting. Acquiring logical thinking ability is the key to success in their future life. Playing with most of educational toys feels like a chore and gets boring quickly. And that’s why we decided to build Photon.
STORYTELLING DRIVEN LEARNING ► Photon’s story motivates children to gain knowledge while keeping them engaged in a fun tale similar to popular comic books and cartoons.
DAILY CHALLENGES ► The robot gives kids programming related challenges. After coding simple programs, Photon can perform hundreds of tasks and show living proof of how lines of code affect reality.
FREEDOM OF CUSTOMIZATION ► Finishing challenges awards experience points known from RPG games. Children can use them to unlock new senses for the robot or boost his parameters according to their taste. No two robots will be the same!
PAIRED MOBILE APP ► Photon is integrated with an intuitive child-friendly application for smartphones and tablets that lets kids interact with their robot and create their own programs.
EASILY DIGESTIBLE PROGRAMMING LANGUAGE ► The language used by Photon is based on colorful blocks and inspired by Scratch and Google Blockly. Even a 6 year old can master it in no time.
The robot develops along his owner by gaining new abilities, senses and functionalities with each programming related task completed. Completing a quest to create a simple program may let the kid pick some sort of upgrade for Photon, like the ability to see or detect obstacles. This way, progress is visible right away and works as wonderful motivational tool.
It's not just another toy, it's a true friend and companion.
► Coding - has become the most sought after skill of the 21st century.
► Over the next ten years, programming will be one of the fastest growing occupations.
► There will be 1.4 million programming jobs…
► …and only 400 thousand graduates in computer science.
►A computer science major can earn 40% more than the average college graduate . Unfortunately, few adults can program and even fewer can teach the skill.
► Children highly benefit from learning about technology and understanding how it works. High technological literacy will become crucial for future generations.
Prominent people like Bill Gates or Barack Obama and corporations like Facebook are trying to inspire children and ignite their passion for coding.
Our team wants to join these efforts and support the idea that every child should be a digital creator.
We believe letting the younger generation learn about new technologies will allow them to succeed in their adult lives, professional careers and let them fulfill their dreams.
The user communicates with Photon through the “Photon-Human Translator”® (a smartphone application). The robot presents a unique story with gradually harder challenges. All stories have been developed with the involvement of educators, psychologists, and game specialists. Thanks to 10 programmable sensors you can send Photon on specific missions like going through a maze while detecting obstacles or following a child's hand as Photon passes safely through a hazardous lava filled cave!
Step by step children encounter further challenges which teach them how modern technology works. They study the basics of programming as well as exercise their ability to think logically.
The application creates additional challenges designed in a manner that allows children to play together with their parents Children are able to proudly show off their problem solving skills to their moms and dads while parents get the opportunity to spend time with their children and support them. We want to help in building this relationship.
Finishing different tasks earns you points and allows progressing to the next level in Photon. Points may be used to further upgrade the robot, like unlocking new sensor functions, new ways to interact, and to personalize it according to your child’s preferences. No two robots will have the same set of features! That’s a first! After numerous trials and research with children, we know that it is an incredibly effective motivator.
Photon is equipped with a number of sensors which allow it to “feel” and interact with the surrounding world.
Teaching programming takes place in steps of increasing difficulty. The application guides your child through the basics of programming and explains in detail how all the blocks that constitute programs work.
Children may program the robot using a tablet or a smartphone, through an intuitive visual block language, inspired by well-known and proven languages for children – Scratch from MIT and Blockly from Google. We’ve simplified the language to create a programing engine suitable for children (e.g. complicated settings or excessive/negative numbers have been removed). Additionally it has been adjusted to the capabilities of the robot and the mobile devices it works on. The only limit will be your child’s imagination.
In the beginning Photon can’t do anything and is just your everyday plastic toy. That doesn’t last long though. Kids connect with him through the app, get acquainted and receive their first coding related missions. Each task completed gives them experience points which can be spent on robot’s development. They can for example:
► Make Photon’s wheels faster, which lets him perform better at many endeavors
► Unlock his vision module allowing him to notice them, as well as get better at avoiding obstacles
► Make his eyes glow in a completely new color
► Teach him to react to sounds and many more
Each new function and sense unlocked motivates them to experiment and gives a bigger set of tools usable in programming.
Just like a growing child, the robot gets smarter, stronger and keeps developing. RPG-like freedom of choice lets kids personalize their robots to their own tastes. Children are proud when their progress and successes in studying can be shown off and appreciated.
It is difficult to keep children stay focused and motivated. That’s why we worked together with experts in the fields of psychology and gamification to make playing with our robot as fun as possible. We’ve created an interactive story where the child and the robot are the main characters and have to work together. This builds a sense of responsibility which is a huge motivator and fosters learning.
Photon’s story encourages kids to take action and gain knowledge while having fun. When the robot was traveling to Earth, he had an accident and collided with an asteroid. His spacecraft broke into pieces that scattered all over the world. Now Photon wants to find these pieces, but he needs help from children! During their journey together they will meet many interesting characters that have found some of the spacecraft’s parts. These characters will present further challenges for Photon and the kids. Only if they pass a specific challenge, they will be allowed to pick up the missing piece.
All heroes of the story feel distinct and likeable. Their personalities are based on real human emotions like sadness, joy, anger, fear or curiosity. We’ve consulted the designs with a bunch of friendly kindergarteners and primary schools who had to approve every single one.
Photon has been created for children who are in elementary school. The system has been designed together with kids in order to perfectly fit their expectations, abilities and needs. After countless months of work and numerous prototypes, we’re happy to announce that children love playing with the final version of Photon.
We’re committed to assuring parents that they are giving their children a high quality and a well-designed tool that can help develop creativity, social skills and ignite interest in STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Children were a huge source of inspiration when it comes to design and ergonomics of our creation. Yes, they pointed us in the right direction and described what their dream robot should look like. The entire interface design process unfolded with a constant participation of parents, children, teachers, and psychologists. We have made every effort to make Photon safe, attractive as well as user-friendly. You can even add new accessories to change his appearance. A top hat? Maybe a stylish dress? The choice is yours! :)
Kids are creative by nature, and their ideas can be extremely surprising. That’s why we’ve created our robot with safety as a top priority. The robot is made out of durable and child-friendly materials. The internal electronics have been secured in a way that makes children unable to access them by any means.
Worrying about your favorite Bella, Duke, Sparky or other furry family member having a hard time, getting scared or too jealous of Photon? We have tested our robot with the help of dogs and cats and they seem to love it as much as kids. While learning to code with it might be a bit out of their reach, they still have heaps of fun.
One of the most interesting things we’ve noticed during the testing phase is the fact that children aid and motivate each other while working with Photon. Cooperation and team-play are crucial for them and make the entire learning process much more engaging.
The robot teaches young people that they have to work together to overcome challenges. When one child has problems with a particular level, the other attempts to explain what he or she is doing wrong and how to do it better. Cooperating like this positively affects children, their development and social skills.
Children are adorably social creatures. With their robots being unique and personalized they love to show them off. When testing Photon at a friendly kindergarten we’ve noticed that they quickly came up with some funny competitions like races, obstacle courses and our favorite… sumo wrestling. That ensured us that creating a good multiplayer mode that could encourage positive rivalry is a must in Photon’s case.
Robots can communicate with each other, play games or fight, and use special moves. For example you can “cast a spell” and gain an advantage in a racing game - just like in the legendary Mario Kart (R) games! We plan to add leaderboards and daily challenges so that our beloved ones can compete with other children from around the world.
Our aim is to make the entire Photon experience enjoyable – from opening the box to setting it up and usage. The box itself looks like a spaceship and sets the stage for Photon’s journey. We want the magic of working with Photon to begin as soon as its little owner sees the mysterious package.
Everything made for kids should be as intuitive as possible. The smartphone app is based on visual hints to help the children that still lack a solid grasp on the alphabet get the most of it. . The coloring, shapes and patterns were also based on the research and analysis of our youngest specialists.
Our dream is to bring Photon to every child's house! To fulfill that dream we need your help. We appreciate all your support and hope we can do a lot of good for the world!
We have prepared a game full of challenges to let you taste the positive energy of Photon! Every few days we will unlock a series of challenges, and only after they are completed, you will you be able to access the new ones. After completing a certain number of achievements, we’ll unlock new possibilities and upgrades for the robot and the campaign itself. We want to develop the campaign in the same way children will develop our robots! :)
Let’s see what we can achieve together:
To honor our wonderful supporters, each Photon you receive will get a stylish Kickstarter markings on it. Additionally, the unlocked achievement bonuses will be available exclusively to the people who have backed the project. The jetpack module is also a Kickstarter exclusive.
Photon was conceived in the minds of Martin Joka, Mike Grzes, Chris Dziemianczuk, Michael Bogucki and Mac Kopczynski, four students and one academic teacher from the Bialystok University of Technology, Poland. Now we're an international team consisting of engineers, programmers and developers from the USA (Chicago), Poland (Bialystok) and Belgium (Bruxelles).
Photon's creators have received numerous distinctions and honorable mentions for their work. They have won prestigious technological contests organized by companies such as Microsoft or Phillips and have been awarded by the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education – they are prize-winners of the “Generation of the Future” program. The team members are graduates of many prestigious programs, e.g. TOP500 Innovators. They are also mentioned in many well known rankings, e.g. New Europe 100 ranking - the list of 100 most dynamically developing innovators in Europe, which is created by laRespublica and Google.
Their personal experience is worth noting - in 2014 one of the creators of Photon, Mike Grzes, worked as the coordinator and the main constructor of Hyperion 2, an award-winning Mars rover. This year the CEO of Photon, Martin Joka, has become a nominee for MIT Innovators under 35.
Promise is a promise. This phrase – incredibly important when you’re creating something for kids - is one of our main mottos when building Photon. That’s why we have decided to provide honest delivery dates, and avoid making children wait pointlessly.
Photon will arrive on Earth after December 2016. There is a chance we can make it for Christmas, provided there are lots of preorders and we get our hands on production molds earlier.
On our way to Kickstarter we have met lots wonderful people, companies and organizations that never hesitated to help us. Photon is able to become reality thanks to their help!
We have spent many days and sleepless nights creating this project and it’s finally time to show it off to the children of the world. We’re doing everything to assure a quality as high as possible. The final step to make Photon real belongs to Kickstarter and most importantly: you! Together we can make it easily. If you believe that Photon can change the future of children and improve their education help us to reach our goal!
- Photon, Martin, Chris, Michael, Mac and Mike.
Children love to learn by experimenting. Acquiring logical thinking ability is the key to success in their future life. Playing with most of educational toys feels like a chore and gets boring quickly.
And that’s why we decided to build Photon.
Risks and challenges
We are focused on delivering our robot to every type of backer in a timely manner, however, as with any product that involves complex manufacturing, production delays could become an issue. We will focus on keeping our backers informed at all the times and mitigating any potential delays.
We will treat every backer as if they were our first, and promise to deliver you a high quality product.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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