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Apple iPad's Swift Playgrounds coding app will now let kids control LEGO creatures, drones

Swift Playground's latest update will arrive on Monday, June 5.

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Apple’s educational coding app, Swifts Playground has a major upgrade as it is bringing coding for Bluetooth-enabled devices. With this new integration, kids and students will be able to learn coding for robots, drones and musical instruments. Apple has partnered with companies like LEGO, Sphero, and Parrot. This new feature will come as Swift Playgrounds 1.5 update and will be available for download on the App Store starting June 5. The update is compatible for all iPad models running on iOS 10 and above.

On announcing the new update, Craig Federighi, Apple’s VP of Software Engineering, says, “More than 1 million kids and adults from around the world are already using Swift Playgrounds to learn the fundamentals of coding with Swift in a fun and interactive way. Now they can instantly see the code they create and directly control their favorite robots, drones and instruments through Swift Playgrounds. It’s an incredibly exciting and powerful way to learn.”

With the new coding technique for Bluetooth-enabled devices, these are a list of popular products from the companies aforementioned, that Swift Playgrounds users will be able to control from the app. From LEGO, the LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 will allow kids to explore coding and control their own robotic LEGO creatures, vehicles, machines and inventions. Through Swift Playgrounds, kids will be able to code and interact with the motors and sensors of their LEGO creations. The Sphero SPRK+ is a robotic ball that rolls, turns, accelerates and changes colors. Kids using Swift Playgrounds app can create codes to control the Sphero SPRK+ ball by responding to its sensors which will alert when the device is going to hit an obstacle. ALSO READ: Siri is Batcomputer and you are the Lego Batman

Parrot, a drone company, has three of its drones integrated with Swift Playgrounds – Mambo, Airborne, and Rolling Spider. Swift Playgrounds app will allow kids to control the drones and make them take off, land, turn, and also perform stunts like flips. More activities on the Swift Playgrounds app include UBTECH’s Jimu Robot MeeBot Kit which will allow kids to program their buildable robot to walk, wave and dance. ALSO READ: Google Project Bloks: An open hardware platform to make coding easier for kids

There’s another robot as well called Dash by Wonder Workshop which is more of a hands-on learning robot for young students between grades K and 5. Dash is designed to teach these kids the fundamentals of coding, creative problem solving and computational thinking. Then there’s Skoog, a music cube for which kids can create codes to explore, create and play music. ALSO READ: Microsoft adds new tool to Minecraft: Education Edition to help kids learn coding

Apple launched the Swift Playgrounds app last September during its Worldwide Developers Conference. Swift Playgrounds teaches students and beginners as well coding at the most fundamental level with an easy-to-learn programming language from Apple used by professional developers. ALSO READ: Apple WWDC 2017 live stream to kick off on June 5 at 10:30PM IST

  • Published Date: June 2, 2017 12:24 PM IST