Award-winning software company Tinybop Inc., based in Brooklyn, N.Y., has launched its latest app this month, called The Robot Factory, a paid iOS app that allows kids to let their imaginations go wild and create their own robot friend.
In the works since 2010, The Robot Factory allows children to build their own robots in a factory, whether it's a robot cat, samurai or moonwalker with 10 heads, and then lets them test out their robots "in a world" on the app.
Already more than 500,000 robots have been created on the app and it's been named a top iPad app overall in the app store in 27 countries, on top of being ranked first on iPhone for education, in 17 countries. Children can "supply the narrative" in the app and test out their robots to see if they work.
Raul Gutierrez, CEO of Tinybop Inc., told CNBC that they had "created an environment where building a robot that doesn't work doesn't feel like failure, but rather an invitation to tinker some more. This play pattern is essential in developing creative problem-solving skills."
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A key objective was to get children "excited about learning" and "excited about releasing the potential energy of their imaginations," said Gutierrez.
When asked whether using smartphones for education was seen as counterproductive, Gutierrez said that smartphones weren't just about content delivery but had all "sorts of wonderful technology."
"It's our responsibility as content creators to harness that power in ways that create meaningful experiences for kids," he added.
The Robot Factory is just the first app in Tinybop's Digital Toys series, who plans on expanding this with two more apps in 2015.