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Robots can be programmed in the playground with Swift

By Matthew Bain
Wed 7 Jun 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Earlier this week Apple announced new capabilities for their educational programming app Swift Playgrounds.

Using the Swift intuitive programming language, students can now use the app to code using robots drones and musical instruments.

The tech giants have been working with leading device makers in the field to allow the app to communicate with each gadget via bluetooth.

Working with partners such as LEGO, Apple are hoping to offer children a comprehensive and accessible programming education. LEGO Education presidents Esben Stærk Jørgensen says they’re excited to add Swift compatibility to their products.

“We’re combining efforts with Apple to provide even more students around the world with the opportunity to learn how to code.

“We’re pairing the familiar LEGO bricks and our hands-on approach to playful learning found in LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 with Swift Playgrounds’ powerful learning platform so now anyone can program their LEGO MINDSTORMS creation with real Swift code.”

Apple software engineering VP Craig Federighi says children around the world are working alongside their teachers to learn programming through Swift Playgrounds.

“More than 1 million kids and adults from around the world are already using Swift Playgrounds to learn the fundamentals of coding with Swift in a fun and interactive way.

“Now they can instantly see the code they create and directly control their favourite robots, drones and instruments through Swift Playgrounds. It’s an incredibly exciting and powerful way to learn.”

Educational gadgets programmable with Swift Playgrounds:
  • LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 are incredibly popular in schools around the world and give students the power to explore coding through real-life problem solving as they create and command their own robotic LEGO creatures, vehicles, machines and inventions. With Swift Playgrounds kids can code and interact with their creations’ motors and sensors.
  • Sphero SPRK+, a popular robotic ball, rolls, turns, accelerates and changes colours. Sensors provide feedback when Sphero hits an obstacle, and all of it can be controlled with Swift code.
  • Parrot’s Mambo, Airborne and Rolling Spider drones can take off, land, turn and perform aerial figures like flips, all under the control of code users create.
  • UBTECH’s Jimu Robot MeeBot Kit lets kids program their buildable robot to walk, wave and dance.
  • Dash by Wonder Workshop is an exciting, hands-on learning robot for students, designed to teach the fundamentals of coding, creative problem solving and computational thinking.
  • Skoog is a tactile cube that enables children of all abilities to have fun exploring, creating and playing music with Swift code.
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