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A wonderful, but limited, drawing robot for kids who want to code

Once a child has progressed past these templates, the difficulty curve seems far too steep. Artie supports two advanced code languages — Javascript and Python — neither of which I was prepared to learn for this review. If your child is already interested in either language then Artie would be a fantastic way to explore and develop coding skills; there’s something wonderful in writing code on a display and seeing it move a physical object.

But Artie would be a lot more accessible to a lot more kids if it supported a child friendly language like MIT’s Scratch, and that would open up Artie to the Scratch community of educators who share their projects and code.

Without the support of Scratch, I think many older kids will quickly hit a ceiling with Artie’s code templates, and unless their parents and educators are willing to embrace python or javascript Artie will be abandoned. But for younger kids, from 7–10, Artie should provide many hours of fun. Artie would also make a great introduction lesson in coding for primary school kids.

At $120, Artie is more expensive than a barebones Arduino but cheaper than most toys in this category. I was pleased to see the unit can take any Sharpie sized marker, so you won’t need to order a special set of Artie pens once the four in the box are out of ink. To keep the costs down you should invest in a set rechargeable AA batteries though, as Artie has quite the appetite for power.

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