Mattel has announced that kids will be able to learn programming through a combination of Hot Wheels id, which combines digital and physical race cars, with Apple’s Swift programming language.
Hot Wheels id is a new product that Mattel launched in June, reminiscent of toys-to-life games such as Skylanders. It has physical tracks and cars with NFC tags that you can scan into a digital account on an iPad. The Race Portal measures the speed of the physical toy car as it moves down the smart tracks, and it tracks this data in the digital version, where you can complete challenges.
Now, with the Swift Playground integration, kids can upload the code from their physical Hot Wheels id car. Then they can join an adventure story on the iPad where each chapter is a different scene for which they will need to use Swift programming skills to solve (each chapter adds in difficulty level as people learn more about how to use Swift coding). The experience is targeted at kids ages 8 and up.
The Swift Playground experience teaches coding concepts and the potential of augmented reality. Swift Playgrounds is an app for iPad that makes learning to code interactive and fun. It requires no coding knowledge, so it is aimed at students just starting to learn. Users can solve puzzles to master coding basics, take on a series of challenges, and step up to more advanced playgrounds designed by Apple and other leading developers.
In the Hot Wheels id Swift Playgrounds, the Hot Wheels id car has been stolen by the evil genius Draven and you need to get it back. Each chapter of the Hot Wheels id Swift Playground is a different scene that progresses in difficulty as you master basic Swift programming skills. Find hidden tokens and passwords in augmented reality and collect coins to progress through scenes and guided exercises all while learning Swift programming basics.
Scene one opens up with an introduction to the technology behind Hot Wheels id and the Race Portal, where you can use your iPad to scan your physical car on the Race Portal to connect with the digital environments. Pair your iPad, race your car, and even use augmented reality to view it in real life. You can leverage the power and fun of AR on iPad to view a scanned car in 1:64 scale or life size. You can also search an island for hidden clues and tokens by enlarging any of the islands and walking around it or rotating it 360 degrees. As you complete each challenge, you can use AR to find hidden passwords and activate the gateway to the next scene.