Computer programming can be tremendously fun for some people, or boring and impenetrable for others. The important part is to have a chance to be exposed to it so that each person can find out for themselves.
The earlier the exposition, the better. That’s why Bandai has a line of programmable robots designed for STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
Algoroid is more akin to a remote-controlled car than an actual robot. Connected via Bluetooth to a computer or smartphone, Algoroid can be programmed by a simple app interface to perform basic actions to battle other Algoroids in a small play area.
The programming is completely visual (instead of code) and the goal is to teach young kids programming concepts such as conditions, and some high-level logic, rather than diving into writing computer code.
Zeonic Technics is aimed at teenagers with more complex (and interesting) options. The humanoid robot is inspired by the famous Gundam Japanese anime series.
Allowing students to customize and program a high-profile anime character is Bandai’s unquestioned added value to this project. There are many such STEM robots, but none can control a Gundam character.
Zeonic Technic is a modular robot, and users can change customize it by changing its limbs and other modules. It is one of the most advanced STEM modular robots we’ve seen to date. In its bi-pedal configuration, it is capable of walking.
Yet, the programming interface is relatively simple and mostly visual. It is possible to create relatively complex motion and scenarios, mostly without writing traditional code. This works so well that Bandai is considering organizing contests and perhaps competitions. Zeonics Technics doesn’t come cheap, and the package costs about $800 to $1000 depending on the combo.