1 June 2019

REVIEW: Artie 3000

Review of the Artie 3000 drawing coding robot
Coding creations

We've tinkered with lots of STEM toys over the years, from one you programme with shapes, to another that uses interconnected blocks. However, we've never played with one that creates drawings as a direct result of drag-and-drop code. That's just what Learning Resources' Artie 3000 does, and we checked it out.

In a nutshell, this is cute little battery powered robot that can draw. Artie himself is a chunky block of mostly immovable plastic, set on two large wheels. He has a head, with two eyes, but all the movement and 'personality' comes from driving and rotating on those wheels. Included with the bot itself are four felt tips pens, which can - one at a time - be inserted in Artie 3000 so he can start creating.

Review of the Artie 3000 drawing coding robot

With the app fired up kids can then start to get Artie moving. There are a lot of choices here, and certainly more than we were expecting from a toy robot. Younger kids will enjoy the simplicity of the drag-and-drop system, whereby pre-coded blocks are lined up into a sequence (turn right, go straight, turn left) before the run is activated.

Review of the Artie 3000 drawing coding robot

Older kids (and adults) will enjoy the choice for coding beyond that. Artie 3000 is compatible with the Java script and Python coding languages, but can also be steered in the far more fun and immediate 'point and click' method. Scribble something on screen or in the Chrome browser extension, and Artie will replicate it.

Parents might now be thinking, 'hang on... this is a robot the kids control, with a felt tip poking out!?!'. And they'd be right. Artie can be programmed to create smaller drawings that will fit onto the piece of paper you lay down for him (take our advice - tape the edges loosely to the table to keep it from slipping), but he can't 'see' the paper. The kids could, therefore, drive him straight off of it and across your lovely white carpet.

Review of the Artie 3000 drawing coding robot

Fortunately the included pens are washable, so any slips we had on the table were easy enough to clean up. Artie 3000 is also compatible with similarly sized pens, so you can buy extra colours and types of felt tips (ones that are even easier to clean up).

One issue we did have was the speed at which the little fella got through batteries. Those initial four AAs (not included) seemed only to last a couple of days of fairly heavy and excited use by the kids. If this is something you're considering purchasing, you might also want to get a pack of rechargeable batteries and charger in your Amazon basket, too.

Review of the Artie 3000 drawing coding robot

However, the Artie 3000 from Learning Resources is a lot of fun. Yes, the younger kids loved the fact that a robot could a draw a picture for them, but the older children really seemd inspired by the choice of coding options and possibilities. As they get older, so their coding abilities will mature, but Artie 3000 seems like a toy that will stick around, offering years of challenging fun. Check it out.


Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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