Makeblock, a maker of Lego-compatible electronic blocks to teach kids how to code, has ventured into robotics. At CES 2018, it's showing off the Codey Rocky, a cute little robot that serves to be your coding companion. It boasts easy to-use robotics hardware plus a graphical programming interface so even your precocious little six-year-old can get started on her engineering career.
The face of the Codey Rocky is comprised of blue LEDs that light up to look a bit like pixel-based art. Underneath are three buttons labeled A, B and C respectively, plus a speaker. The overall construction is made out of a high gloss plastic and the wheel portion of it is comprised of army tank-like treads. What's especially cool is that there's a module on the back that shares the same pogo pins as the rest of the Makeblock lineup, so you can easily attach it to not just Makeblock materials but also standard Lego bricks.
Ah, but the Codey Rocky is not just a robot. Snap the detachable face out of its wheel base and it becomes a handy controller which you can use to play games. The controller — nicknamed Codey — also happens to be the brains of the operation, as it includes more than 10 electronic modules with which you can control with code. You can make it happy or angry, or to just vibrate when you tap its side. To add even more excitement to your coding adventure, the Codey has a 6-axis gyroscope that you can manipulate by moving or tilting your controller.
In order to program the Codey Rocky, you will drag and drop colored blocks into a friendly graphical user interface. When the kids get older and more advanced, those basic coding skills can then transition to coding actual languages like Python.
Makeblock hopes to retail the Codey Blocky close to $100, but before it can do that, it needs to be backed through Kickstarter. That shouldn't be a problem though, as it's already met its $100,000 goal (and then some) with around 1,065 backers at the time of this writing. If you do want to get one at a discounted price, you best back it now, as the Kickstarter has only 18 more days to go.