Funding Friday: Mochi Robot

I’m a huge fan of toys and other things that can get young kids engaging in instructing machines what to do. I think that in the world these children are going to grow up into, that is going to be super important to them as adults.

And so toys like Mochi Robot are great for parents, teachers, and caregivers who want to provide that to their children.


Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    I like this one. I might have chosen the name ‘Machi’ though (if no IP issue exists).Or, is Mochi an abbreviated portmanteau, of ‘move’ and ‘machine’?

    1. Daria Zhao

      Haha, thanks for the thought Jason! Daria from Mochi here ~The origin story of “Mochi” is actually much simpler. We wanted a child-friendly name that was (a) easy to pronounce with (b) fun, positive associations.In Japan, Mochi is a sweet rice-cake confectionary that comes in bright colors – often served as a treat to young kids. Similarly, we wanted our product to be a ‘treat’ for children — so they view learning as a fun, positivity-inspiring experience rather than a chore.But the kids won’t know until it’s too late and they’ve already fallen in love with learning! See what we did there? 😉

      1. jason wright

        Mochi mochi! Knowledge of how to harness the predisposition of the young mind to learn requires careful consideration of what it is they are learning. If they imitate the machine they become like the machine. If they imitate each other they become like each other. Computing and society. Does it serve us, or do we come to serve it? Do we even become prisoners of computing? There have to be boundaries, and each of us need to be conscious of where they are.

        1. Daria Zhao

          Spot on, Jason. I couldn’t agree more. As parents, we built Mochi to lure our kids away from the screen with a hands-on alternative.At the end of the day, it’s all about high-quality interaction with others. How do we encourage socio-emotional growth + collaborative learning so they grow up to be engaged citizens with high empathy & a well-rounded understanding of ethics, complex social systems, and diverse subject matter?Mochi is our answer to that question in one product experience.

  2. sigmaalgebra

    I’ve done a lot in computing, including some of the most advanced stuff with applied math for US national security; I’m still at it in computing and applied math; I’ve taught computer science at Georgetown and Ohio State; I’ve been observing computer technology about as closely as makes much sense; yet STILL I can’t say what the heck should be done in computer education for children under, say, 10 unless they and their parents want them to start right away on being a competent software developer on currently popular operating systems.”Coding”? Been there; done that; still do it. What is it? Okay, partition the program into relatively independent pieces, commonly called functions. In each such function, define parameters, define variables and storage, make decisions with IF-THEN-ELSE, iterate across some cases with DO-WHILE, have assignment statements to do the data manipulations, use some fairly standard error handling, and, finally, usually most important, call functions provided by other software, principally the operating system. That’s not a lot to teach.The main challenge in coding is just getting competent technical documentation for the work of other people that do have to use.That’s coding. And each 10 years, it changes significantly, hardly at all in principle but a lot in the details needed in practice. E.g., people learned to program on PC/DOS and then had to learn to program on Windows. Then versions of Unix became popular with X-Windows or whatever graphical user interface it had. Then on to more recent versions of Windows. Then .NET on Windows. Then whatever the heck Apple’s products want. Then Android.So, back there, if wanted to teach a child, which of those should teach them? If just teach a little about coding, then haven’t done much. If get the kids into something like professional development, then that will change before they are out of high school.That is, what the heck to teach kids now that will be significant and last?Here’s one! Teach the kids how to yell and scream at bad documentation!!! Not very significant, but likely inevitable, and it promises to last!!!Teach kids how to use user interfaces? GOOD GRIEF: The original HTML looked good to teach, both for using (although 1+ billion people learned it quickly on their own) and programming, but now with JavaScript each programmer does his own so that each Web site is different and also changes maybe each few weeks. That teaching has to be, use the TIFO method — try it and find out. That’s not much to teach.For user interfaces, instead, it is up to the programmers in the future to make the interfaces easy to use — can’t teach that now, and if they are to be easy to use, then there’s not much to teach then.I’ll mention something that has been worth learning, that is powerful, and has lasted: Teach IBM’s old text editor XEDIT. Or, okay, don’t and instead teach Mansfield Software’s KEDIT which is a PC version of XEDIT. And teach the scripting language Rexx which was also the macro language for XEDIT and very similar to the macro language KEXX for KEDIT. I learned that stuff decades ago and have used them heavily every hour I’ve been at a computer since, and it should remain important for least another decade or two. But I bet no one will want to teach it!Other software to teach that is powerful and stands to last: (1) SQL (structured query language) for relational data base manipulation. (2) D. Knuth’s mathematical word processing language TeX.Here’s some more stuff could teach that promises to last and be powerful — plane geometry, trigonometry, solid geometry, analytic geometry, calculus, abstract algebra, linear algebra, advanced calculus with vector analysis, probability, statistics.

    1. JLM

      .Tuition check on its way. Great comment.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…