Play-i Technical Details: Here’s the Nitty Gritty

We have received lots of messages asking for the technical details behind the Play-i robots and software interface. So here’s the nitty gritty of what’s inside Bo & Yana… and how you can program them for learning and FUN!

Communication between your robots and touch device

(Your iPad or Android gadgets!)

Bo & Yana are compatible with Bluetooth Low Energy (aka Bluetooth 4.0). It will be a seamless experience that works right out of the box and doesn’t drain your battery! Multiple robots can connect to the same device, allowing open-ended gameplay. Most iOS devices support Bluetooth LE, and it is seeing increasing adoption on Android and other platforms.

We’ve designed a custom protocol that allows every aspect of Bo and Yana to be controlled wirelessly in real-time. This forms the basis of our open API. This API allows applications to get sensor data from the robots, and to control the various motors, lights, and sounds. We are building a platform on top of this API to abstract out many of the functionalities on the robot, to make for easy development.




Batteries and Charging

Both Bo and Yana come with rechargeable batteries and a standard micro-USB connector for charging. Bo can move around for 90 minutes on a single charge, and Yana has a battery life of several hours. There is a charging and battery life indicator on the robots, and the programming device will also show battery notifications for connected robots.

Programming Bo & Yana

We are building touch applications that children as young as 5 can use to program Bo & Yana. When they first start out, there is no emphasis on programming syntax or standard text-based coding. Our applications will enable kids to start having fun with the robots out of the box while learning the basic fundamentals of computer programming.

Over time, children will graduate to more traditional visual programming languages like Scratch and Blockly, and eventually even standard languages like C. With our open API, any programming language can be used to program these robots.

Programs do not need to be compiled and downloaded on to the robot; they are meant to run in real-time, allowing for easier learning and debugging. The programs can be downloaded and saved on to the flash memory on the robots, so they can run on the robot later without requiring the programming device.