Yukai Engineering to Release cocoro kit for Robots that Makes Programming as Easy as 1-2-3 for Kids

2020/2/5 ニュース

TOKYO (Feb. 9, 2020) — On March 1, Yukai Engineering Inc. a Tokyo-based robotics startup known for creating robots that bring joy to life, will release “cocoro kit,” a module that children can use to wirelessly operate the robots they create with Yukai’s popular “create-a-critter robot kit.” The kit will come with free access to a programming environment for Scratch and JavaScript, which Yukai has created to enable Kokoro users to easily design and code original movements for their robots on their web browsers. Designed with people of all programming skill levels in mind, including educators and programming professionals, this programming environment will also be accessible free of cost to anyone interested in using it.

The releases of these products and services mark the official launching of Yukai’s education business.

“We believe children, as well as adults, can most effectively learn when engaged in fun and hands-on activities that challenge their critical-thinking skills. Our goal is to provide people with that kind of experience,” Yukai CEO Shunsuke Aoki said. “We want to spark an interest and curiosity in them and help them discover an inner engineer in themselves. We hope thecreate-a-critter robot kit,cocoro kit and new programming environment do just that and encourage people to further tap into their imagination and creativity.”

The announcement comes five months after the October 2019 market release of the “create-a-critter robot kit,” which Yukai developed for use in Japan’s public broadcasting organization, NHK’s “Elementary Kids RoboCon” scheduled for March 2020. Designed to spark an interest in children to make things with their own hands and from their original ideas, the kit features easy-to-handle components, such as switches, so young children can understand how robots are made. Yukai has thus far sold more than 1,500 kits.

Feb. 9 Talk Session and Workshop
In advance of the product release, Yukai invites all those interested in its educational products to a Feb. 9 robotic event at Futakotamagawa Tsutaya Electric. Yoshihisa Wada, Yukai’s engineer who led the development of thecreate-a-critter robot kit, expected to join Akichika Tanaka, developer of Sony Interactive Entertainment’s robotic toy, Toio, to discuss the future of robotic education and explain the concepts behind Yukai’s products. Yukai CEO Shunsuke Aoki will lead the event, which will includecreate-a-critter robot kit and Toio workshops.

When: Sunday, Feb. 9, from 4-6 p.m. (The venue opens at 3:30 p.m.)
Where: Futakotamagawa Tsutaya Electric, 2nd fl., Dining Hall
Registration fees: 1,500 yen (includes a discount coupon for products to be showcased at the event) — Registration at the door will be accepted if there are available seats remaining.)
For advance registration, visit the following web site.
Hosted by: Futakotamagawa Tsutaya Electric

cocoro kit and the programming environment
cocoro kit is a module that connects users and their devices via Bluetooth (BLE). By using programming languages, Scratch and JapaScript, kit users can enjoy customizing their robots’ movements. This provides excellent opportunities for children to learn programming while having fun. Yukai’s programming environment allows users to program on web browsers, tablets and smartphones.

Scratch is a visual programming language developed and offered for use by MIT Media Lab. Because it enables coders to connect visual programming blocks by following simple logic, such as “If” and “then,” Scratch is suitable for children and novice programmers looking for a fun learning experience. As many as 500,000 people currently take advantage of Scratch in Japan alone, according to the information on Scratch’s website. Scratch is also useful in combining the expandable features of the codes of existing products on the market. JavaScript, in the meantime, is a flexible text programming language. The combination of these two programming languages makes cocoro kit a versatile programming environment suitable for a range of purposes and demographics, including educators and professional programmers.

Yukai’s programming environment features:
Ability to controlcreate-a-critter robots however you wish to
Easily programmable by connecting Scratch’s visual logical blocks
Ability to create robots that recognize and react to specific objects or person (e.g., a robot that “likes apples”) by combining the expandable codes of existing products on the market

You can code Scratch on your computer to control a robot that you created with thecreate-a-critter robot kit by wirelessly connecting the robot to the cocoro kit.

An example of text programming in JavaScript


Yukai’s Education Business
At Yukai Engineering, we believe everyone, including both children and adults, have the desire to learn, discover and create things. We strive to create products and services that nurture humans’ sense of curiosity, and that help them discover the joy of learning and identify their passion.

When people are interested in doing something new and fun
Most people — Jump into it
Yukai’s way — Try for fun
Bar is set low
It’s fun to try
You can learn while playing
You become immersed in the activity
It sparks your imagination

Your Project
Creating a robot
Controlling a robot in the way you want
Creating a smartphone app
Playing the piano
Drawing a picture
Growing plants
Cooking food

Negative feelings:
This is not for me.
I don’t know what I’m doing.

Positive feelings:
I now know what I like!


Collaboration with NHK for ‘Elementary Kids RoboCon’

Yukai Engineering is involved in all aspects of Japan’s public broadcasting organization, NHK’s “Elementary Kids RoboCon,” including the development of thecreate-a-critter robot kit and the control board for the robots to be used in the national tournament leading up to the RoboCon, as well as providing educational workshops and instructions for students. For more information about the RoboCon, visit the following website: http://www.official-robocon.com/shougakusei/

create-a-critter robot kit: https://robotkit.ux-xu.com/

“Kids Programming School 8×0”