Apple updating Swift Playgrounds to control drones, musical instruments, and other hardware

Apple’s annual developer conference kicks off Monday, but we’re already seeing WWDC related announcements from the company which suggests the keynote will be packed from start to finish.

Earlier today we saw an update on how much it has paid developers and how the App Store is performing, and now Apple has detailed an update to Swift Playgrounds coming Monday that will let students control robots, drone, and musical instruments.

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Apple® today announced that Swift Playgrounds™, its educational coding app for iPad®, will offer an exciting new way to learn to code using robots, drones and musical instruments. Swift Playgrounds is perfect for students and beginners learning to code with Swift™, Apple’s powerful and intuitive programming language for building world-class apps.

Apple says Swift Playgrounds 1.5 will let students control Bluetooth-connected bots including “LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3, Sphero SPRK+, Parrot drones and more.”

In the announcement, Craig Federighi says Swift Playgrounds already has over 1 million users around the world. Apple specifically details compatibility between Swift Playgrounds 1.5 and these products:

LEGO MINDSTORMS Education EV3 are incredibly popular in schools around the world and give students the power to explore coding through real-life problem solving as they create and command their own robotic LEGO creatures, vehicles, machines and inventions. With Swift Playgrounds kids can code and interact with their creations’ motors and sensors.

Sphero SPRK+, a popular robotic ball, rolls, turns, accelerates and changes colors. Sensors provide feedback when Sphero hits an obstacle, and all of it can be controlled with Swift code.

Parrot’s Mambo, Airborne and Rolling Spider drones can take off, land, turn and perform aerial figures like flips, all under the control of code users create.

UBTECH’s Jimu Robot MeeBot Kit lets kids program their buildable robot to walk, wave and dance.

Dash by Wonder Workshop is an exciting, hands-on learning robot for students, designed to teach the fundamentals of coding, creative problem solving and computational thinking.

Skoog is a tactile cube that enables children of all abilities to have fun exploring, creating and playing music with Swift code.

Apple says the new version of Swift Playgrounds will be available starting Monday, June 5. Swift Playgrounds is available for free on iPad.


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