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Hackaball, the toy kids can program, rolls out in March

Here's another way to get your kids interested in coding early on.

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After launching on Kickstarter last year, Hackaball, a programmable toy for kids, is almost ready for prime time. It's already sold out its initial pre-order run, but you'll soon be able to snag another batch for $85. Hackaball is expected to ship in March, the company says.

Gallery: Hackaball hands-on | 5 Photos

To refresh, Hackaball looks like a fairly typical toy ball, but inside it's got a six-axis motion sensor and multi-color LED lights. Kids can program it to do all sorts of things using that sensor — it can change color when you throw it, or if you're not holding the ball steady enough. The idea is that kids will be able to create all sorts of games and learn the basics of programming.

Hackaball at CES 2016

The prototype Hackaball we held felt great, with a bouncy silicone shell that covered its precious computerized internals. There's also an additional silicon sleeve that gives it a decent amount of grip. Hackaball CEO Sebastian Potter tells us that sleeve is also meant to encourage kids to open up the device and play around with it.

You can program Hackaball using the company's app on an iPhone or iPad. But what's really impressive is that the app seems designed specifically to get kids interested in tweaking the toy. Commands are clearly laid out, and the app directs kids to do things like change lights or make noise based on a variety of behavior. There's even support for rudimentary conditional statements.

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