STEM toys are a great way for kids to learn all about technology, and as AI becomes more prominent in society, it’s important for kids to learn about it, too!
Thames & Kosmos’ latest robotics toy is KAI: The Artificial Intelligence Robot, a robot that uses artificial intelligence to learn and follow directions. KAI is designed for kids ages 12 and up, but kids ages 10 and up can build and play with KAI with the help of an adult. The set comes with a detailed set of instructions that are easy to follow and include pointers and diagrams. The booklet also includes a fun comic about the AI robot that kids can read to get into the story and facts about computers and technology that led us to use artificial intelligence every day!
KAI comes with all of the pieces kids need to put it together, but they do need either wire cutters or scissors and a nail file to cut out the plastic pieces and file down the burrs left behind. Kids will also need a small phillips head screwdriver to build KAI. Building KAI took me around three hours total, so it’s definitely more of a full day or afternoon activity, especially if kids are easily distracted. Building KAI is a relaxing activity that is on the same level as doing puzzles or building construction sets. I liked that each step was clearly spelled out and it’s easy to go back if you need to fix something and retrace your steps. The most time-consuming piece of the building process was filing down the burrs on the plastic pieces, which can make a mess as plastic pieces fall off.
When kids are done building KAI, they need to put in four AAA batteries (not included) and press the blue button on KAI’s face to turn it on! Once KAI is ready for action, kids can download the KAI Robotics app from the Apple or Google Play store. KAI connects to kids’ tablets or phones using bluetooth.
Once their devices are connected to the app, kids can start playing! Kids can use the camera on their device to track body movements, sounds, and facial expressions to learn the different commands. The app even shows how much the robot is learning to get better, more effective results. The more data KAI collects, the better it is at following the commands. Each command will lead to a different action from the robot, including moving forward and backward, rotating its head, and changing its facial expression. If kids don’t want to play with KAI through AI, they can also use the remote control function!
It is so cool to watch KAI learn what different commands mean and how to complete them. Throughout the building process, I was doubtful that such a seemingly simple robot would be able to do that, but I am so glad to be proven wrong. Parents will also like that KAI stores all of kids’ data locally so it does not need Wi-Fi to run and the data is inaccessible to third parties.
KAI is the perfect gift for a STEM-excited preteen or teenager to test the waters in robotics. It is also a safe alternative to learning about artificial intelligence that is separate from the online world.
KAI: THE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE ROBOT
Kids can build an app-enabled robot that can react to gestures and sounds, and program its face display to show expressions and scrolling messages. The robot can walk on six legs and rotate its upper body 360 degrees. 10+
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