Join us on a product walk through with Kai's Clan inventor and the brain behind this amazing online/real-world experience for teaching programming and coding for all ages.
Interview with Representatives from Kai's Clan and Elad Inbar, CEO of RobotLAB
Welcome everyone to our channel this is Elad Inbar, CEO of RobotLab and today we have with us Bruce and Ronnel from Kai's Clan. they are going to talk about their amazing robot that we experienced not long time ago. Also, that we met everyone else and we got a great experience with that and great feedback from educators and without without further ado that you guys introduce yourself.
Bruce: Hi there, I'm Bruce from Kai's Clan all the way from New zealand and inventor of Kai's Clan along with a great team behind me.
Ronnel: I'm Ronnel and I look after-sales the re-sales and also teaches if they need any help, so yeah I fell in love with Kai's Clan and I've done a couple of other games and fill it up with Kais Clan and that's why I'm here.
Elad: Great. Thank you guys. So one of the the main things that you know I find really, really interesting with this product is that we can actually do it you know remote and redo it even kids at home especially in these days, that almost every child you know around the globe is just stuck at home. We can just let them work with robots and work with with the programs even while they are remote and not physically with the robot which is a great advantage. I don't have any other similar products out there that can do that. So, maybe you can talk a little bit about the background of where this one came from or why you know you chose to develop it in that way that it's accessible to everyone over the internet.
Bruce: Yeah, sure. So, I've been a tinkerer. I've been pulling apart products since I was you know very small and I've been ripping apart and you know making a lot of failures along the way and those have been my lessons. So, I've learned a lot about electronics and programming and coding and I just love technology. I hacked my own car for self-driving. I'm just a geek.
So, I was working with the education company, a 3D printing company and going into schools and seeing you know people doing coding, and I went to this one school with my son he was supposed to be learning coding and the teacher was there, and all the kids were on their thumbs, and this was a coding lesson. Yes. And I'm like "this is not right"; you know something's wrong here. So, I went back and we spoke to some engineers and we said hey let's let's pull out all the modern technology that's being used today and put it into a a box and see what we get, and that's what we've got with Kai's Clan.
Elad: That's great I mean everything that comes from passion. I know that's because I you know worked with robots myself and I played with them and build them everything that comes from passion is like 10 times better.
Bruce: Yeah, exactly.
Elad: So, why focusing on education? Why not going you know to other markets like entertainment or you know all kinds of home? You know education these kind of things?
Bruce: Well you know, why education why not deliver a consumer product? I just I just got a big passion on trying to prepare students for the next wave with robotics and all of the technologies that were available. It's no longer a future thing that robots are gonna replace jobs, they already are.
I mean, even in New Zealand we had a concrete company concrete and you know they went from 700 staff to 140 and triple the production. Robots don't complain about not picking up, so we really you know my passion is about you know getting our students ready you know they're already behind and we need to really have a strong push on technologies in the classroom and really getting kids to understand what those are.
Elad: Yeah I mean I always say we try to prepare our students to the 21st century but take we're 20 years into the 21st century already. These kids will graduate in 2030 probably so you know they should be better prepared you said immediately today.
Bruce: Exactly, and that's what we focused around with Kai's Clan, we wanted a tool box for the teacher. So, the teacher has a tool box and they go "I want to do robotics", I want to do coding" I want to do VR. So, we've got all the tools in one product and it's up to the teacher or up to the students what tools they want to use to learn these new technologies.
Elad: Got you. Can you talk a little bit about the the robots and the tools and the accessories of come with it?
Bruce: This little yellow robot here, actually it's probably the smallest feature of our toolbox of Kai's Clan. It's got some little lights on it and you know it looks like any other robot on the market pretty much, that's pretty cooler. It's just another robot, but how is Kai's clan different? Well, I can show you just quickly what you can do with Kai's man and how is Kai's Clan different to any other robot product on the market. Well, the difference is Kai's Clan allows students or teachers to create the characters that they teaching.
So, if you're doing a history lesson and you want guns and all sorts of things in there you can do that and design those in Minecraft or Tinkercad. Then just click in Tinkercad and send to Kai's Clan. And what that does then is send that character into our iPad or Android app, and then kids can then go and animate that through our coding interface. So, it's very easy for kids to learn not just coding a robot, but they can also learn to you know do animations and things like that. Kai's Clan is like I said there's a tool box and it's really got so much VR and AR and you know sensors and it's it's pretty much but everything in it and easy to use with a very lot of floor and a high ceiling.
Elad: So, basically what you're saying is that the robots are just like a physical medium but the important thing is what we like the virtual layer that we are adding on top of that. So, we can transport the students to Mars to Second World War or any other environment just by designing this environment. And they're always just the embodiment of that motion or this you know fight if it's a war or something like in the real world but you know what this is the Mac on screen, but this is the actual a like a character that they design which is pretty unique.
Bruce: That's that's exactly you got that one hundred percent correct that's exactly right. We have a mat on the floor and that mat is tied to the the virtual world. So, instead of just going hey as a teacher so "hey" to your student, "code this robot to move along this line as if you were in a war or as if you're in Mars". But now, we actually say "hey, code you Mars rover to go to the Space Station and going top up the water and put out a fire". And all of those things can be done in the virtual world so you see a Mars rover you see the fire you see the space station and you're on Mars. But when you're moving your virtual character your physical character starts where your physical character goes the virtual environment is matched.
Elad: I got you. Are there any like accessories or you know other product that we can attach to the robot?
Bruce: Yes. We've got a bunch of sensors, and we've made it very easy for sensors. This is our small sensor pack but it's like you know for a teacher to start learning or teaching Arduino, just to link an LED, for most teachers this can be quite challenging and for the students I made a LED link and I spent a whole lesson to do this and it's like you know really it's not I'm not achieving a lot.
So, we said okay well before you get to Arduino, use Kai's Clan, single click choose what sensor you want to do whether it's LED light or temperature sensor and you plug it into color-coded cable and it's active so if you want to see what the temperature is in in another country you can easily just plug in a temperature sensor in the back of the robot's color-coded, one click on the interface and you then got a temperature sensor on your robot.
Now the beauty of Kyle's clan is because it's online, it's in the cloud it's full multiplayer. It doesn't matter where in the world you are, you can drive the robot you can see its scene temperature sensor you can turn on a water pump. I mean our water pump you know it's one click choose water pump, plug it in and you've got a water pump running. So, it doesn't matter where in the world you are with Kai's Clan you can be coding you can have your your robots in your house as a teacher, and then all your students who are all remote can be you know using and coding those robots.
Elad: Yeah. And I have to you know vouch for that we just got training a few weeks ago during this Carona shut down thing. And you know everyone at home all our team at all we have our customer success team and developers, and know you guys in New Zealand, and we were driving robots on your floor in New Zealand from California and from different houses. It was like really mind blowing, like; what is that? How does it even work? And that's that's great and I think this is a great added value for educators that it's simple, and it works literally from anywhere in the world, and then you know personally, I was impressed by that. So, good job on that.
Bruce: Thank you very much.
Ronnel: I think what's amazing is about the collaboration I'd say you can be anywhere in the world and we really would love to see schools to actually start working together, districts, when you buy a classroom kit, you get to met so why you know you can have a mass met in the one school and and other school then you can combine it and all of a sudden we can see 12 robots on the met all competing or doing different things. So, it's a multi-player coding platform.
Elad: Yeah got you. It's perfect it brilliant and its working, I mean that's the best thing here.
Bruce: It's taken three years of development with a team of developers to get the product to where it is today.
Elad: Absolutely absolutely to make it so smoothly I mean, I can appreciate the hard to work and how much work. So, let's talk about the programming a little bit. I saw a little bit of like block based programming. Is this scratch base or blockly or something you unique?
So, we've got teacher management on there so you can manage your students. We've got new things coming on where we can remote control, the teacher can take over control of the students, coding interface to correct any issues they've got to help, one student could help another student. And that's very important when you're coding remotely and a students is struggling. What can the teacher do to help that student?
So, what we will be able to do is the teacher will be able to take over control of that student's coding interface, fix a problem and then release it for the student to carry on. We've got a lot of things planned for the future with Kai's Clan. Our development team all working on next versions. We support BBC micro but we put that onto the internet via Kai's Clan and we're extending out... We support over 30 different types of sensors or add-ons third-party sensors or add-ons.
Elad: Yeah that's great so
Bruce: It can seem very overwhelming but if you just want to drive a robot forwards left, right, very basic things. We've got a very low floor so it's very easy to get started and then if you want to take this into the first year of university and do really advanced logarithms you can do that as well.
Elad: Got you. So, before jumping to higher education you mentioned teachers and the ability to intervene and correct the code and all but what resources you're providing for for teachers in terms of either curriculum or you know worksheets or lesson plans on anything?
Bruce: So, when we did the research for designing curriculum and lesson plans, we found that a lot of the the lessons and the curriculum were outside of the product that you're currently using. This meant that you had to be you coding and then you're switching to a lesson. So what we did, we integrated that lesson inside our application so you don't have to leave the application to learn what the lesson is. Now, to go back to your question is we have over 35 lessons from Mars to Busy Bees, Battles and and all of these are lined with some via virtual reality augmented reality so we've got all these lessons we are aligning them to st standards as well.
Elad: we got you. so which age group are you targeting with this you know with the lesson plans?
Bruce: From seven years old all the way up to the first years, probably high school is a realistic way you know, first few years of high school.
Elad: Yeah got you so students will be able to use their own development environment or eclipse or what not.
Bruce: Yeah it's not a simple task because we are a multi-player environment, because students are you know using it. Now, what makes it even more complicated as well in that environment is when you start having two schools competing against each other in a real live situation. So, we will start releasing competitions as well because we are our own online platform, and it's very easy for us to do online competitive challenges.
Elad: Got you. So, let's say I'm a teacher, I heard about that and you know I'm intrigued I want to get started, are there any prerequisites either for me as a teacher or for my students, or do I need to know before starting with your program?
Bruce: Well, what you can do is just jump into one of our free online lessons that we offer. Just like what you you were saying earlier when you jumped in and you can code a robot sitting in New Zealand.
Bruce: That's been very popular and we're doing a lot of those. I've been up since 6:00 a.m. this morning doing these lessons. So, that's probably the first thing to get a taste on on Kai's Clan because it can seem very overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be, and like I said it is a toolbox. If you just want to use a spanner and you you don't you don't have to do the whole AR the VR, sensors you can just like keep it simple and just do some simple coding to get started..
Elad: Got you.
Bruce: And then we sell a pack you know of four robots or a dozen robots and that enables the whole classroom to work.
Elad: Got you. What would you say is the expected outcome from the students participating in this program? What are we trying to teach them other than having fun with AR and robotics and all of that?
Bruce: Well I think the thing is with every student is unique. Every student has their own learning types and abilities and their own passions. I've got my own passion about technologies and I love that but we now come to History, I'm like you know I shut down. We know every student's got their own skill sets. That's the nice thing with Kai's Clan because it's got so many options in it.
One student can say "hey I want to be coding the unity side of the app", and they can go through that because we've got a unity app you know that allows us to code in unity so they can do the game development kind of stuff, or one students doing census. So, it's really up to the student which way they want to go with this. It's something and what schools they learn...
Ronnel: I also think what you're doing is to be teaching kids how to look at project and inquiry based learning. Gone are the days where teacher sort of say do this, do this; it is now really student driven. So, you can add your own project, actually you don't have to follow our lessons. You can add your own and then share it in the community page, so I really think it is a to give students the ability to be creative from designing their own design or their own character all the way to how is the different lesson rolls out and what are the different roles that we can play.
Elad: I got you. As a student can a work like only on the virtual side of that so only the online version without being connected to a real robot?
Bruce: You can to to a degree but you still need the Met so we're we're about the physical and a virtual product so this does mean that you still have to have a physical Met somewhere with a teacher or at home.
Elad: I got you yeah. That's great. It sounds really good so you know what's in the pipeline for that or what's coming up next? You mentioned Python that's one thing for sure?
Bruce: Yeah. I think I mean what's next is we've really got to work we've done we've got a lot of Technology in this product. We're still trying to make it easier, making something complicated easy is complicated. We are trying to make it easy and better, we are polishing our our sandbox, VR app at the moment, so that's going to take a little bit of time. And that's like a full kind of block based coding interface into unity, so that's now you know adding a whole thing where you know we teaching your own lesson.
Whatever that lesson might be, it might be on the new coronavirus and then you can have viruses and you can have robots infecting other robots and we're not just simulating these are robots, but these are human beings being infected with other human beings when they're come into contact with another robot because a human and the robot are basically... yeah so you know we've got we've just finished that lesson plan just about and then we'll make a video on that and show that.
Elad: Oh, thats awsome
Ronell: We're also looking at translations. So, one of the first ones will probably be Spanish and I believe is obviously a big market for the for a Spanish version so hopefully in a couple of months time we'll be able to have cast and also in Spanish.
Elad: Especially in the U.S. I mean half of the school's population speak Spanish, we definitely need that. That's great. I mentioned what I like about that you know the ability to work without around the world wherever you are that's awesome, but from your experience what would you say the most exciting you know feature or features of software or the hardware or any combination between them where do you see the most you know excitement coming from?
Bruce: The most excitement; a person sees the product the first time, they love the aspect that there's a physical object on the floor or robot or a QR code and then they love that it's tied to the virtual. Because you know a lot of the stuff is all gaming's and there's no physical attachment, when you're doing learning so it's all on the screen and it's not off the screen or it's all off the screen and it's on the screen, so we do that whole you know that marriage between the physical world and the virtual world are tied together and I think that's what makes our product very unique.
If a kindergarten kid wants to just push the robot around on the mat, he can do that and see in the virtual world what he's doing. It's it's amazing to see primary school kids learn navigation without being taught navigation because on our mat we've got X and Y-coordinate. Now, when they push that when the code that robot to move around, you place a chocolate in a particular coordinate..
Elad: It's always probably made for us when we're driving.
Bruce: Exactly, and it's amazing like you just go okay open grippers, going grab the chocolate at this X and Y-coordinate because we're using X and Y-coordinate in real time. So, that's another unique part of our product is most robotic project you know a products after market or line following they follow this black line. Black line was invented 24 years ago and we're still teaching it.
But if you look at an Amazon warehouse or Ali Baba warehouse you won't see any black lines. And that was my big thing around inventing this product. Let's use technology that's being used in the industry so Amazon warehouse use the same little QR codes like this. They have them on the floor we have them on the roof of the robot. It's exactly the same kind of setup we also have an Amazon we have simulation.
Elad: Oh nice. So, the whole thing just like shuffles there, inventory shuffles around and everything.
Bruce: Yeah, you receive a product order you've got to go and connect that from you've got to order that in from the supplier it's got to go through the whole logistics supply chain and that's one of our more advanced thing that comes with a mat as well.
Elad: it's great great yeah anything else you want to share with our viewers I think that you think we missed?
Ronnel: Well, I think they made the big thing as you know get a demo and we'll show you all the different features and actually let you get on and code your robot, and I think that's where people see the you know the excitement when they code something how it comes to life, and then they can see the different mats and things and then they can decide after that.
Bruce: I think just to summarize Kai's Clan is a toolbox like I said, and it just depends. You can start very easy. If you've done the B BOTS you can use Kai's Clan. To move forward you just drag a block, move forward, click run so it is that simple or advanced depending on how far you want to take it.
Elad: Yeah. Definitely great thank you Bruce and Ronnell I really appreciate your time. Hope you stay stays in this virus madness going on out there. If anyone wants to learn more feel free to reach out to us or to the guys here. I will be more than happy to give you a demo and you know get you on board this exciting program. Thank you, have a good day.
Bruce & Ronnel: Thanks very much.