Mattel has teamed up with California-based Dash Robotics on Kamigami, an insect-themed, build-it-yourself robotics platform that teaches kids how to programme while they play.
Launched at Target for US$49.99, the platform includes six different buildable Kamigami robot insects that include a lady bug, praying mantis and scorpion.
The bots come as a durable plastic sheet of parts that kids can pop out, fold and snap together. Kids are then able to drive, race or battle their Kamigami through a free companion app, which includes a visual programming interface for blinking lights, playing sounds and maneuvering around obstacles inside or on tougher outside terrain.
Each bot features a three-axis accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope, IR transmitter, two IR sensors and three colour LEDS.
Co-founded by Nick Kohut and Andrew Gillies, Dash began as a robotics and biomimicry research initiative at the University of California at Berkeley backed by the National Science Foundation and the US Army.
The timing of the arrival of Kamigami coincides as Mattel continues to roll out its new five-pillar strategic plan with more investment in digital content, internet-connected toys and learning-based products.
It also follows a new round of executive appointments for the toy company including Joe Euteneuer and Sven Gerjets as CFO and CTO respectively.