We've created a programming tool for the PC (and soon Mac). It’s based on Scratch, a popular drag-and-drop programming language developed by MIT. Scratch can be used to create programs that live just inside the computer and cause actions to happen on screen, or to control Arduino-based devices. The Kamibot tool has been customised to natively interface with Kambot’s DC wheel motors, top servo motor, bottom-facing IR sensors and front-facing ultrasonic sensor. Essentially, it takes Scratch beyond the screen so it can control a physical robot.
With the programming tool, kids can send Kamibot on different missions by dragging functions into a program board, in order to call those functions. These functions can be grouped into loops or if/then statements that can be triggered by a mouse click or response to stimulus. The functions can also be assigned or passed arguments, just as in more complex languages like C. However, since this is a way of getting kids into programming for the first time, the process is much easier.
For instance, in Scratch, there’s a function called move(). Rather than having to memorise that function and type move(10); in order to get a result, kids can simply drag the move() function onto the program board and type in the distance. (Kamibot comes with a special mat with intersecting black lines on it. Kamibot uses its IR sensors to follow the black lines and recognise intersections.)
On the Scratch website there are several videos that give you a feel for how the language works: https://scratch.mit.edu/help/videos/#
Connecting Kamibot to a PC, in order to program it is simple. You can do it with an included micro-USB cable or via Bluetooth.
One popular mission that we've taught in classrooms is the Treasure Hunt. Kids use a special Treasure Hunt map, available with the Twin Pack and higher perks on the Kickstarter campaign. They program Kamibot with a series of functions that guide it through obstacles arranged by their classmates, in order to eventually arrive at the treasure chest. There’s a video of that on the Kamibot YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b40sdW9ueng
Along with the programming tool, the we'll provide a full curriculum that parents, teachers and students can use. We’ll also provide an open API that unlocks access to Kamibot’s Arduino-based board. This is important because eventually kids will graduate from Scratch and want to try something more challenging. The native programming language for Arduino is C, so older kids will be able to get started with that language as well.