Cozmo Robot from Anki Emotes, Learns, Plays

Check out Cozmo, a robot from Anki, the folks who made their name with the race cars you control with your iPhone. Cozmo “talks” using sounds that remind me a little of R2D2—but only in spirit—and it has a display for a face that emotes. Anki says Cozmo was designed with hundreds of emotions, and he is designed to play with you, or with his “Power Block” accessories. In the video, the designers and engineers talk about how sound is a huge part of how the device interacts with the world, including a bit where he snores while charging. Speaking of which, he’s self-charging. That’s just awesome. Setup and control (when Cozmo isn’t acting autonomously) is handled through an iOS or Android devices, and Cozmo ships in October of 2016. Retail is set at US$179.99. but Anki has a pre-order price of $159.99.

Google Bloks Will Offer Kids Hands-On, Collaborative Programming Concepts

Google announced a new “research project” called Bloks, a wonderful concept that brings programming to very young kids with real-world block-like components. It’s an ongoing project that Google is opening up to the world, but the company is starting with electronic boards and programmable pucks. Brain Boards are built from Raspberry Pi Zero boards and can be used to power anything you could power from that device, like robots or switches for real-world devices. The pucks are essentially instructions, including on-off switches, directions, or volume controls. When used in sequence, they can send instructions to the Brain Boards. And it’s all hands-on for young kids. They can collaborate in ways they never could with any programming thing based on a screen and/or keyboard. I love it. It’s an entirely different approach from Apple’s Swift Playground, and I think they’re very complementary.

PRE-SALE: The Complete iOS 10 Developer Course at $29

Our friends at Stack Commerce have been putting their collective noggins to work with this deal. It’s a pre-sale on The Complete iOS 10 Developer Course with 80 hours of content on coding for Apple’s next generation iOS. It’s discounted to $29, and you’ll be notified when the course is ready to access—but in the meanwhile you also get The Complete iOS 9 Hacker Training immediately, included for the same price. Check out the details on the deal listing.

iPhone 7 Sans Headphone Jack: The Debate Continues

Reliable sources are suggesting that Apple really will remove the 3.5 mm audio headphone jack from the iPhone 7 this fall. The community seems evenly split about the prospect, with some shrugging and one notable author declaring that this is a hostile and stupid idea. The notion that this isn’t really a worthwhile technical advance seems balanced with the prospect of better and enabling digital technology moving forward. Plus: a more waterproof iPhone. Particle Debris page 2 asks the question: has Apple gone too far?