Front

Who’s Kubo?

KUBO, the educational coding robot for kids, started as a research project at Social Technology Lab from the University of Southern Denmark. The goal of the project was to investigate and develop new and better ways for young children to learn with and about technology.

Brain

It is in the Brain that all the logic and behavior of Kubo is controlled. For Kubo Education, we have different Brains for different subjects, such as language, math or coding. We are also working on Brains for speech recognition, music and sonar sensors that let children experiment with Artificial Intelligence. The Brains also give feedback from internal LED light and sound, which helps the kids understand what Kubo is ‘thinking’. If you are a developer, you can even experiment with your own Brains based on Arduino microcontroller and our API for Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

Body

We have put all the expensive stuff in the Body. The two motors that make Kubo move, Bluetooth, a rechargeable battery and the sensors to read input from the Kubo programming bricks. We did all this to lower the cost of Brains. This makes new Brains affordable for any budget.

TagTile

It is the Tiles that do the tricks! Every Brain has its own sets of educational Tiles. If you buy a language Brain, you will also receive Bricks with all the letters in the alphabet. Kubo can read and distinguish each of the different Tiles, just as you can since all the Tiles have their own letters. You can then teach Kubo new words or let Kubo teach you new words. Tiles also come with nodes for the Music Brain so kids can compose and play music with Kubo or they can use the Kubo language and learn how to code. For mathematics, you can save variables in the Tiles and use them in your programs.

Examples of educational subjects

Coding

Kubo teaches kids coding through hands-on tangible play and storytelling.

Language

Change Kubo’s Brain and Bricks to work with grammar, spelling, verbs, nouns etc.

Music

Use Kubo Music to compose verse and chorus. Collaborate in groups and make music.

Mathematics

Kubo’s concrete appearance is ideal to teach abstract mathematical concepts.

“Everybody should learn how to program a computer, because it teaches you how to think.”Steve Jobs

Coding, kids and activity-based learning

There are lots of research and articles covering why programming is a crucial skill to teach our children in the 21st century so we will not cover that here, but only express our consensus with the movement of teaching children how to code.

Through our research, we discovered that children learn through three modes of representation; activity-, image- and language-based learning.

Each of the three ways of learning is closely linked to a specific technology; computers, which depends on keyboards, are connected to language-based learning. Tablets, with the use of apps and image-based interactions, is optimized for image-based learning. Robots, when designed thoughtfully, offer a great potential for activity-based learning.

How the modes of representation links to technology can be illustrated by the way we learn to code. Real programming languages like Java, C, C++, Python or similar are dependent on the use of a computer and keyboard since all the programming depends on language. Beginner friendly drag-n-drop programming like Scratch Junior or Blockly is suitable for tablets. The Kubo programming language, which is based on tangible coding tiles, is designed to work with the Kubo Robot.

During our research, we discovered that children in kindergarten and primary school learn more efficiently if teaching is activity-based. Through our analyses of existing educational robots, we found that a rich tangible language was missing. In collaboration with teachers and children, we have developed a new way to teachactivity-based programming exemplified with the Kubo robot and its tangible language.

Activity-based coding
Image-based coding
Language-based coding
function blueFunction() {
   motors.moveForward();
   motors.turn(90);
}

blueFunction();