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info Kibet Kipkemoi

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The challenge

We currently live in digital world and this will only grow. Many white collar jobs such accountancy will disappear due technological advancements such as Artificial Intelligence and RPA. As this digital world won't be kind to those who cannot adapt, it is essential for the kids of today and tomorrow to learn programming or at least have some insight on how the digital environment works. There are currently devices which focus on learning kids to program but the problem is that these focus on learning first and fun second. This should be turned around; fun first and make it possible to extend that fun by programming.

The solution

The idea is to develop a locomotive train toy which is fun to play with and which can learn a person to program at home. First of all the kid can place any piece of paper, for instance a A3 paper, on a surface. Next, they can draw a track on the paper with a black marker. The locomotive of the train will detect the track and follow it. This provides a cheap setup which doesn't require expensive tracks and it is already fun to play with. The follow up is to instruct the kid to draw some dotted lines or use a different color marker. When the train passes the dotted lines it could be pre-programmed to flash its headlights or turn them red if it passes a red line. Once the kid sees that the train reacts to its environment it will be encouraged to try to make the train behave different by programming it. This will be a really straightforward interface through an app were for instance you can program with color blocks. As a result the kid could decide that when the train passes a blue line the train should take the first left at a railroad switch. Finally the locomotive can be extended with wagons which add even more fun and programming functionality. For example a wagon could have a light sensor and when the lights in the room are turned off, the headlights of the train could turn on. Another wagon could make a sound or play music. Of course the kid can decide for itself what and when (parts of) the train should do something. In short this locomotive train will create heaps of fun and at the same time playfully learn kids to program, which will make them ready to be emerged into the digital world.

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