Learning to program through play? This is a big topic at the Spielwarenmesse 2017 - and Wonder Workshop is no exception. The design of the Dash educational robot is certainly impressive. Dash is at home in Silicon Valley and former Google and Apple employees were involved in its design and development. Now it is set to find its way into children's rooms in Germany and help young users' logical thinking "get up to speed". But what can the robot friend Dash do? Find out in our video!
Jürgen Groh: Mr. Cederskog, hello there! How has your day at the fair gone so far? Christopher Cederskog: Excellent! I'm very satisfied, it's a great thing. Jürgen Groh: As a start-up company, what are the benefits of exhibiting at a trade fair like this? Christopher Cederskog: We are mainly here to showcase our product. We have a relatively innovative product. Dash is a robot that teaches children how to program. It's a completely new thing and we're here to meet retailers, look at other companies and talk to journalists, but also to see how we can best present the product on the German market. Jürgen Groh: Does the German market mean that you are only concentrating on the German market for the time being? Or do you want to expand into Europe or the USA? Christopher Cederskog: The product originally comes from the USA and was developed in Silicon Valley. Former employees of Google and Apple, who also worked on the iPad. Jürgen Groh: So the robot has to be incredibly intelligent? Christopher Cederskog: It's pretty intelligent! Jürgen Groh: I want to see that later. Christopher Cederskog: Yeah we'll show that in a minute. And Dash is already available on the market in the USA and is now coming to Germany and Europe. We are focusing on Germany, but we will also be launching in the UK in the next few weeks, as well as in France. We are already cooperating with some schools, Dash is already being used a lot in schools, in the educational sector. It's a great device for learning other things, you can really use it to teach geometry or geography, for example.
Jürgen Groh: That brings us to the Wonder Workshop, as you call yourselves. What wonders can we expect from it? Christopher Cederskog: Well quite simply, Dash is designed for children to learn how to program in a playful way. In other words, we have developed apps for the iPad and Android that grow with the children in an age-appropriate way. It starts at 5 years and goes up to about 10 years. This means that we start by saying - we're on a table here, so we're only going to let it move 10 cm for now - swipe this command on the tablet screen with your finger. Jürgen Groh: These are the programming commands? Christopher Cederskog: Exactly. I simply add the commands here on the tablet. I want it to rotate again now. Jürgen Groh: The command is 10 cm forward, 270° rotation. Christopher Cederskog: Right, exactly. Jürgen Groh: And now we come to the complex things. Christopher Cederskog: For the more complex ones, we can add giving the lights different colors, having Dash say something and then having him turn off all the lights again at the end. That's what he does now. Turns around again, says something and turns off the lights. Jürgen Groh: Sounds and looks simple. But I think that will pave the way for many talented computer scientists, don't you? Christopher Cederskog: Yes we believe that it has to start simple and playful. You don't have to start with a huge theory book. Children of that age want to have fun first, which is why Dash doesn't have to be put together, it comes ready to use out of the box. Charge it once, install the app and off you go, so that you have an immediate sense of achievement. And what you then do with it depends on your own creativity. We believe that this simple introduction will naturally lead to children learning more complex things and gaining better access to computers in later years. Jürgen Groh: Above all, the inhibition threshold for the topic is lost. I've seen something even more complex here! Christopher Cederskog: This is one of our favorite accessories. This is our catapult.
Jürgen Groh: Do I stand here and then he shoots me down, or what? Christopher Cederskog: Yes. I charge him with 3 balls. Jürgen Groh: I have 3 chances to catch the ball? Christopher Cederskog: You have 3 chances to catch the ball. We start with a not so strong throw! Jürgen Groh: Hopp that was easy. Christopher Cederskog: Now we reload the ball once. Jürgen Groh: Are these commands being programmed again? Christopher Cederskog: They are commands. Exactly. And then I'll throw the second one. And then we reload again and then we have the third one. Jürgen Groh: Great. Christopher Cederskog: I can use it to drop obstacles. Of course, I then have to position it so that it shoots where I want it to go. I've just programmed it very simply so that it only shoots straight. But I can also integrate that into the game. The catapult is our favorite accessory. Jürgen Groh: One question I always ask is how much does dad have to pay for this device? Christopher Cederskog: It costs €180 in the shops. Jürgen Groh: With the apps? Christopher Cederskog: The apps are all free, you just download them from the App Store and of course they are constantly being developed. There are many things that we have already built that you can then replay to make it as easy as possible to get started. Jürgen Groh: What is the entry age for the device? Christopher Cederskog: It starts at about 6 years old. Some people get the hang of it at the age of 4-5. Jürgen Groh: But the recommended age is 6? Christopher Cederskog: The recommended age is 6-10 years. By the age of 10, the game has grown accordingly. You can see that the different apps grow with the age. This means that the device always remains the same but the apps continue to develop. The apps also become more complicated and more sophisticated so that 10-year-olds can still enjoy them. Jürgen Groh: Then I wish you every success at the trade fair.