Never before has robotics taken a more mainstream role in the world, from Amazon's busy workers to drones to self-driving cars. Thanks to advancements not only in technology but also in the science of artificial intelligence and machine learning, the promise, and to some the threat, of robots are near fulfillment. Suffice it to say, robotics will be a one of the main topics in science and technology education in the years to come. Which is why Sony is announcing KOOV, an educational kit for robotics and programming for primary schools.
It's not really that hard to see how robotics can inspire curiosity in science and technology subjects in young ones. The ability to not only create but also animate and manipulate seemingly lifeless objects can easily capture the imagination and focus of children. Even grownups get enamored by that too. Although they are unlikely to start building complicated, self-learning machines, robotics can be an effective introduction to much more complex sciences.
Sony isn't giving much information yet about KOOV, though it amusingly goes into great length on logo's ties with math and sciences. At its most basic, KOOV is composed of several blocks and a microcontroller. The blocks can make up almost any shape, though the end goal is, of course, a robot. Kids can then program the robot to do stuff.
KOOV is just the first part of Sony's new STEM101 curriculum, a program that aims to "rearrange" and break down the conventional divisions between Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. It follows a "Think", "Make", and "Feel" approach instead, with KOOV addressing the "Make" part of the formula.
Aside from a summer 2016 scheduled launch, details on Sony's KOOV are pretty slim. It probably won't stray too far from the tried and tested modular style popularized by the likes of LEGO. Minus the trademarked blocks, of course.