A smiling wooden robot, used by millions of children around the world to practice computational skills through tangible play. Cubetto is designed, manufactured and distributed by Primo Toys, a company that I founded together with Filippo Yacob back in 2013.
Cubetto is a toy for children composed of a board, a wooden robot and a set of instruction blocks. After placing the instructions on the board, the robot starts to execute the commands. For the little users Cubetto is an entertaining game, but it also contributes to develop their computational thinking.
Cubetto started as a student project at MAInD, during a course with Massimo Banzi, founder of Arduino and later advisor of the Primo Toys company. Our quest was to design a product for children to make science and technology accessible through tangible play.
Heavily influenced by early childhood experiences with LOGO and more recent Arduino experiments, I wanted to connect these two worlds through a tangible version of the programming language, keeping everything off the screen. The result was Primo: a programming language for kids made out of wooden blocks, completely tangible and digitally fabricated.
One year later we founded Primo Toys and launched Cubetto, the smiling wooden robot. We kept the electronics and design files open-source and publicly available, so that anyone could manufacture a DIY version using digital fabrication.
Featured in TIME magazine and in travelling exhibitions around the world, from the MoMA in New York to the V&A in London, Cubetto was honored with many awards, including Red Dot Design Award, Cannes Lion and D&AD pencil.
After many years of work and several crowdfunding campaigns later, the product is now beautifully designed for industrial production.