Apple Swift Draws Support from Robotics, Drone Makers

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Alongside other companies that have picked up integration with Apple's Swift coding language, Lego Education has announced its own support for the iPad programming app for beginners. The company said it would be pairing Mindstorms Education EV3 with the Swift Playgrounds learning platform to allow students to program their Lego Mindstorms robots and other creations with motors and sensors.

Mindstorms already comes with its own programming app, which is controlled by dragging and dropping icons into a line to form commands. Swift is a highly visual programming environment that allows the user to tap on assorted options for creation of runnable code.

"Today we're combining efforts with Apple to provide even more students around the world with the opportunity to learn how to code," said Esben Stærk Jørgensen, president of LEGO Education, in a press release.

Other devices that respond to Swift programming include:

  • Sphero SPRK+, a robotic ball that rolls, turns, accelerates and changes colors. Sensors provide feedback when Sphero hits an obstacle.
  • Parrot's Mambo, Airborne and Rolling Spider drones, which can take flight, turn and perform aerial feats;
  • UBTECH's Jimu Robot MeeBot Kit, which can walk, wave and dance based on coding; and
  • Skoog, a tactile cube that lets students create and play music with Swift code.

Swift Playgrounds 1.5 is available as a free download on the Apple App Store. It runs on all iPad Air and iPad Pro models and the iPad mini 2 and later running iOS 10 or later.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.