Over the years children across the globe are learning more and more about technology, even now within year one in senior schools they are learning basic code, with Microsofts Visual Basic. The only thing is, is there a way of making it more fun at an earlier age and then exploring more advanced features as they get older. Thanks to a Kickstarter Campaign, we now have this opportunity, with Dash and Dot from a company called Wonder Workshop.
So who is Dash and Dot?
Dash is a robot built of four round plastic balls, the two front balls house the wheels, the back ball houses the rotating wheel and the top ball is Dash’s head. Dash has a front facing eye, that detects movement and two ears on either side which detect sounds. The Eye and the Ears can be colour coded and turned on and off.
The movement of Dash is fantastic, he moves over any surface we put him on, just don’t expect Dash to climb, his head moves up, down, left and right and if you code Dash correctly he will look at you or a person when they speak.
Dash also has sensors on his body, which allows him to navigate around sharp corners, or be on the lookout for approaching family or pets.
Dash is designed to withstand a good amount of bashing, as he is very solid and durable, with excellent battery life. When it came to controlling Dash, I managed to control him via the tablet, way past 20ft with no issues.
So that’s Dash, so what Dot?
Dot is Dash’s sibling, has yet to grow is wheels, Dot is basically just a head, and as you can imagine, does not do as much as Dash. Dot acts like a friend, or a person within an adventure that does not move, Dash and Dot can recognise each other, communicate and enjoy adventures together which you create.
As with Dash, Dot comes with Sensors that allows Dot to see and hear, with these Dot is able to recognise and react to sounds and objects, his front eye and ears all can be colour coded or turned off, just like Dash.
What’s even funnier, is Wonder Workshop has added an adapter that comes with Dash, but not with Dot, which allows you to use the No1 Kids toy that has been around for ages ‘LEGO’ so you can create whatever you want for both Dast and Dot. Like turn Dash into a dashing knight and Dot into a dotty princess and have Dash go on an adventure to rescue the dotty princess from the evil Darth Vadar.
Just how will Dash and Dot do this?
From a very young age, Dash and Dot will be there for our children and it all can all start at 5 years old, with the first App called ‘GO’. This App requires no real coding, its more or less a stepping stone to what is ahead.
Give Dash and Dot their first name, add personalities, make them a part of your family, then discover what adventures lay ahead. With ‘Go’ you will get to discover how Dash moves around, by using an on screen full directional control system, with a number of speed settings to choose from. Choose and program what lights to display with a huge selection of colours and finally play with fun sound effects and great little animations or create new sounds effects, for that personal touch.
‘Go’ is just for fun, to get your child to into technology, learn to control and understand the world around them and wonder what could be possible.
Why not purchase the Xylophone add-on and then grab the App ‘Xylo’. Then get the chance to create your own musical performance for friends and family. Now this is very basic and takes a little getting used to, as Dash is not the greatest player in the world. You can compose your own songs, edit, loop and drag and drop to re-arrange segments to better suit your composition.
Growing up and learning more
When it comes to advancements Wonder Workshop has you covered with its next app called ‘Path’. ‘Path’ allows you to create routes for Dash to follow and assign action along those routes. It’s really simple to use, design the route with your finger on screen, drag and drop action on to the route and add the start and finish.
There are plenty of different paths to create from a basic path to adventure mode, which sets a scene on the screen of the tablet, which then allows you so set up a path for Dash to follow and set actions for Dash to act, which include sounds. As an example: The farm adventure see’s Dash on a farm, you need to create a route for Dash to follow and along that route set actions and sounds.The sounds that are available are sounds that you would hear on a farm, cows, chickens, pigs and so on.
You can go on many adventures, so let your inner child come alive, and let your imagination wonder.
The final app, the one every child will move up to in the end, is the app called ‘Blocky’ this is where coding becomes fun, but relatively easy. ‘Blocky’ is a visual drag and drop program, developed with the help of google and allows children to snap commands (Codes) together.
‘Blocky’ is not for the younger child, this is for 8years and over, I am an adult it’s easy for me, but even I enjoy playing with it. You get to understand and learn about ‘events’ (These are actions) ‘Sequencing’ (Putting actions together to form a final concept) ‘loops and algorithms’ (A course of action). You learn all this through playing with Dash and Dot yourself or through challenges.
I found the ‘Blocky’ app, very easy to use and I quickly found a way to put the shivers up my cats. I programmed Dash to watch for movement from my office door, and when one of my Cats walked towards the door and came close enough, Dash would turn on the sirens, flash red and blue and chase after them, after Dash had completed the chase, Dash would return to the same spot Dash started at, and that would be the end of the sequence I programmed. Of course, there is a lot more you can do with Dash and Dot, but for that day, putting the shivers up my cats, was just enough, to make my week.
‘Blocky’s’ drag and drop system works very well, and all the code is worded, there is no need for any extra code like you would get with Visual Basic, just choose what you want Dash or Dot to do, based on the events you choose, snap together the sequence and whatch Dash or Dot come to life with something you have created.
You could use ‘Blocky’ within schools to teach children how to work out an algorithm, say you have created a maze on the floor, made up of box’s, the children need to program Dash, to navigate safely through the maze, without touching the walls and avoiding the deadly traps. Or something easier follow a route, set actions that Dash needs to perform along the route, and finish safely at the other end.
Going even more advance
When you are feeling AWESOME and getting tired of the simple drag, drop and snap routine, it’s time to move on to Objective C, a great tool to learn the basics of programming for Android and iPhone or iPad. This is where shit gets real, no more holding your hand, it’s all coding, what you need to know and learn within colleges and schools, how to program anything and create anything, it’s where your ideas can come to life.
Robots have come so far
After many hours of playing with Dash, not so much Dot, you can really appreciate what Wonder Workshop has done to give children and adults and a chance to learn and understand the basics of coding and moving on to the more advance coding with Objective C. Dash and Dot can easily be included within schools and homes as a way for children to get to grips with computer code, which is more or less our future.
The easy to use programs from the very basic ‘Go’ app to the last one ‘Blocky’ all give a gradual increase in difficulty and understanding. Giving the user a good understanding of events (These are actions) Sequences (Putting actions together to form a final concept) loops and algorithms (A course of action).
Then as the user become more confident and wishes to know how the ‘Blocky’ app works, can move to a more advance program and program all new features for Dash and Dot.
The future is bright, with Dash and Dot the wonder bots.
|Length:||6.69 in||3.39 in|
|Width:||7.17 in||3.39 in|
|Height:||6.34 in||3.74 in (with stand)|
3.39 in (without stand)
|Weight:||1.76 lbs||0.37 lbs|
Battery, Power & Connectivity
|Play time:||Up to 5 hours||Up to 3 hours|
|Standby time:||Up to 30 days||Up to 30 days|
|Battery:||Built in rechargeable lithium ion||Built in rechargeable lithium ion|
|Charging:||via Micro USB to computer system or power adapter||via Micro USB to computer system or power adapter|
|Connectivity:||Bluetooth Smart 4 / LE||Bluetooth Smart 4 / LE|
Lights, Sensors, & Media
|Eye Lights:||12 White LEDs||12 White LEDs|
|Ear Lights:||RGB LEDs||RGB LEDs|
|Spotlight:||RGB LEDs (in chest)||RGB LEDs (in eye)|
|Tail lights:||Red LEDs||N/A|
|Transmitters:||4 IRs||4 IRs|
|Distance Sensors:||3 (12 inch range)||N/A|
|Detect Robot Receivers:||2 IRs||N/A|
|Max speed:||3.3 ft/sec||N/A|
|Head rotation – up:||25°||N/A|
|Head rotation – down:||10°||N/A|
|Head rotation – left:||120°||N/A|
|Head rotation – right:||120°||N/A|
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.