Fisher-Price's adorable new robot caterpillar wants to teach preschoolers to code

The toy moves based on how you plug in its modular segments, a step on the road towards understanding the concept of code.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
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Scott Stein

It crawls across your table, blinking and smiling. It turns and makes fun sounds. And this caterpillar is on a mission to teach your toddler coding.

Fisher-Price's big 2016 toy might be the Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar. It's hard to tell from a CES press event here in Las Vegas, but this toy is instantly cute. It's also reminiscent of classic toys of the past. And, in a small way, it's meant to inspire kids to understand coding.

Coming next June, the $50 toy comes with eight modules that snap together. Each one has a different function: turn left, turn right, make a funny sound. Depending on what order you plug Think & Learn together, it moves differently. In a way, it's similar to other kid-coding games like ThinkFun's Robot Turtles, and works a little like that old Logo turtle programming game I used in school about a million years ago.

Bluetooth gadget showcase from CES 2016 (pictures)

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This isn't complicated stuff like Lego Mindstorms: the individual pieces just snap together linearly, forming a chain of caterpillar "code" that can be as long as you want. But the idea behind modular connected pieces forming instructions...well, that's a step towards coding.

Separate add-on packs of modules will be sold separately for $15 a pop, three to a set. Some will do different tricks, or have different sounds. Think & Learn is meant for kids ages 3-8. I already want to get my sons one.