One of our core aims in creating the Cozmo SDK was to give users easy access to Cozmo’s advanced robotics hardware and software without requiring a high level of technical knowledge or experience. To do so, we wrote it in Python, a ubiquitous, readable language that’s used by creatives, educators, and researchers alike.
But as simple as the SDK is to use for those with some technical know-how, we knew a greater challenge was on the horizon: finding a way to give all users, regardless of age or experience, a way to access, learn, and engage with robotics in a compelling way. That’s why we introduced Cozmo Code Lab, a drag-and-drop programming interface based on the Scratch Blocks project, a collaboration between MIT Media Lab and Google.
With Code Lab, users gain instant access to sophisticated features including facial recognition and path planning, along with a repertoire of world-class animations created by a team of Hollywood veterans.
The response thus far has been humbling, with parents, students, and educators using Cozmo and Code Lab in after-school programs, workshops, and robotics clubs. iD Tech, the esteemed tech camp organization, is even offering two Cozmo-based courses next summer, one of which uses Code Lab to teach students about artificial intelligence, programming, and robotics. In many respects, Code Lab has already accomplished what it set out to do. That’s not to say Code Lab’s journey has come to an end—in fact, quite the contrary.
Arriving December 5 via a free app update, we’re greatly expanding Code Lab’s capabilities to include many user-requested features including if statements, math operators, variables, function calls, and more. Not only are the number and types of blocks increasing, we’re also introducing vertically-oriented block stacks that more closely mirror the way text-based code is structured.
The combination of increased functionality and enhanced presentation serves as the perfect middle ground between the streamlined, icon-based Code Lab that’s currently available, and the full Python-based SDK. As part of the revamped Code Lab experience, we’ll be calling the current interface Sandbox Mode, and the new one Constructor Mode.
With so many inspiring projects already created using Code Lab and the SDK, we know many of you will use the new Code Lab experience to surprise and delight the world in ways we can’t yet imagine. With that in mind, we’re also introducing user-created Featured Projects, making it easier than ever before to captivate and entertain Cozmo users around the world with your Code Lab experiences.
Expect to hear much more regarding Code Lab in the coming weeks. Until then, let us know what feature you’re most looking forward to in the comments below.