Clark Howard

CES 2018: The Root aims to teach kindergartners how to code

With all of the advances in technology, children are learning at a frenetic pace in today’s world. One Cambridge, Massachusetts-based startup has introduced the Root, a hexagonal robotic toy that money expert Clark Howard and team got to witness first-hand in Las Vegas this week at CES, the world’s largest consumer electronics show.

Designed in Harvard University's Wyss Institute, the Root aims to teach children the basics of coding, starting with sequencing and general problem solving and going all the way to teaching professionally used languages. While there are other coding tools out there geared toward kids, (Fisher Price's Code-a-pillar comes to mind, as does the Ozobot) the Root is the most advanced we've seen yet.

CES 2018: The Root robot aims to teach 5-year-olds how to code

Clark radio show Executive Producer Kim Drobes talked to Root’s Chief Technology Officer Raphael Cherney about how the device can be a education tool in the classroom as well as appeal to children.

“It’s got two eyes, and a little nose a little face and it will follow you around. We’re programming it to have a little bit of a personality, too,” Cherney said. “With some bleeps and bloops to talk back to you.”

The Root, which comes pre-assembled, ships with a foldout whiteboard, two whiteboard markers and a charging cable. “All you do is you turn it on, you download the app and you connect over Bluetooth,” Cherney said. “From there, the app will guide you to learn the process of basic coding. It’s something that we’ve done with 4- and 5-year-olds, so hopefully some of the adults out there can learn to do it, too.”

Where to find it: The Root is currently up for pre-order. It will start shipping around June 2018, according to its website,

Price: $199

Clark's takeaway: Clark says teaching children how to code could have lasting benefits down the road. "These developers, these inventors, have come up with really clever and fun ways for kids, who are so adaptable to technology anyway, to learn how to code quicker and better than most adults can."

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