Artie Max | Source: Educational Insights

Artie is ready to party!

Artie Max from Educational Insights is a programmable robot that makes coding a bit more colorful. Kids can draw pictures by creating code from beginner level to advanced. It also features an expressive, color-changing face and expressive sounds to bring extra personality to the scientific process.

Parents (or kids with a little bit of help) can up set Artie by connecting a tablet or laptop to its secure, private WiFi connection. It might take a minute or two to connect, so this is a good chance to learn patience in addition to Python. While it’s setting up, gather some paper for Artie to draw on — you’ll need a size minimum of A4. I found through the process of trial and error that larger paper is better, but luckily the markers are washable if Artie accidentally colors outside of the lines. From there, it’s full STEAM ahead.

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When kids are ready to draw, they can work their way through the coding process through on-screen tutorials. Tutorials include the levels Beginner (Artie Max UI and Remote Control), Intermediate (Blockly and Snap), and Advanced (JavaScript, Python, and C++). I was always the kid who cried at the kitchen table while doing math homework growing up, so I started with Beginner.

The tutorial that I chose for the Artie Max UI was easy to understand and fun to do. You drag and drop blocks from one place on the screen to another, type in the numbers, and let it run! There’s a simulate switch to test out the code before committing to having the markers down. I did not use this switch and quickly learned that I typed a “6” where I should have put a “½”. My drawing came out much larger than anticipated but once corrected, I had a beautiful (proportional) triangle loop.

Coding Artie Max on a tablet | Source: Educational Insights

This might just be my favorite part about Artie Max. Kids can and will make mistakes but then they can figure out how to fix them and feel accomplished when they do. When they feel like they’ve mastered one level, they can move on to the next and start the process over again. Kids can also watch demos for each tutorial to help them understand the codes better. When they move past the tutorials — they can create their very own code.

Kids can also create code to change Artie’s facial expression and the colors of its face. There are five different LEDs to choose from. Artie’s other fun features include Cliff Sensors to detect large drop-offs (perfect for keeping it from falling off the table), Color Sensors to trigger different actions, and Line Sensors to keep it following a specific path. 

Most questions that arise when playing with Artie can be found in the FAQ in the back of the booklet. There’s also a handy glossary full of the terms commonly seen throughout the booklet and in the coding programs.

Artie Max helps kids learn valuable life skills, while also embracing their inner Picasso. The creativity is in the code.