Apple's Swift Playgrounds coding app now lets kids control robots and drones

Swift Playgrounds iPad coding app now controls even more— from robots like Sphero to Parrot drones.

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Kid coders Apple's upcoming release of Swift Playgrounds 1.5 will expand the kinds of machines children can code and control to now include drones, musical devices and robots. Lego Mindstorms Education EV3, Sphero SPRK, UBTECH Jimu Robot MeeBot Kit, the Skoog musical block, and some of the Parrot drones will be part of the initial release on Monday, June 5–the first day of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

Enhancing coding skills in children is a focus for many toy manufacturers, as well as technology brands eager to take part in the trend of bringing more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) expertise to kids. Apple launched the initial Swift Playgrounds just in September, and says more than one million children and adults are already using the app to code. Now with the app, they'll be able to link directly to these additional robots and apps and create, and control, new movements for them all. The free coding program will work with all iPad Air, iPad Pro, iPad mini 2 and older as long as they're running iOS 10 and up.

Alexa reminders Own an Amazon Echo or a Dot? Remind yourself that you can have Alexa remind you of things as well. The new feature launched this week, and is one that Amazon says has been highly requested. Also added: a timer. How will reminders work? Imagine you want to know to get the dog out for his last walk at 10 pm. Alexa will pop up and tell you. You set the reminder by asking Alexa—and if you give a time, she'll ask you clarify if you want that to happen in the morning or evening. Remind us to ask Amazon why they didn't add this feature at launch.

Alexa skills Continuing on the Alexa front, we've pulled together eight Alexa skills that work with third-party security systems. From ADT to Guardian, we have the details on how to link and control your security networked devices—whether they're professionally installed or you set them yourself.


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