The Best Inventions of 2021
November 10, 2021 6:08 AM EST

At its most basic level, coding is a matter of problem solving and pattern recognition. Sphero indi teaches both—no screen required. Instead, kids as young as 4 use different-colored durable tiles to move a robotic car from point A to point B—green tiles increasing its speed, pink tiles telling it to turn 90 degrees left, purple tiles telling it to spin and dance, and so on. “We really wanted to take these abstract concepts and bring them into the physical world,” says Jeff Wiencrot, one of the principal engineers who worked on the product. A student kit priced at $124.99 includes the car and 20 colored tiles to help kids make programming-based puzzles. —Chad de Guzman

Correction, November 10

The original version of this story misstated the material the colored tiles are made from. The tiles are no longer silicone; they are made of either latex-free rubber or paper.

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