Swift Playgrounds can now code robots, drones and more

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Swift Playgrounds now plays with real-world devices.
Photo: Apple

Apple today teased a big Swift Playgrounds update that allows students to control real-world devices.

Using Swift, the company’s open-source coding language, users can take control of robots, drones and musical instruments — all via an iPad.

Unveiled at WWDC last year, Swift Playgrounds is a free iPad app that teaches users how to code in Swift. Its fun and playful approach makes it ideal for beginners who might be learning to code for the first time — and now it’s even more powerful.

Apple has partnered up with leading device makers to make Swift Playgrounds compatible with Bluetooth-powered gadgets, such as LEGO MINDSTORMS robots, the Sphero SPRK+, Parrot drones, and more.

You’ll be able to write code within Swift Playgrounds that controls these devices, then execute it and watch as they come to life.

“More than 1 million kids and adults from around the world are already using Swift Playgrounds to learn the fundamentals of coding with Swift in a fun and interactive way,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering.

“Now they can instantly see the code they create and directly control their favorite robots, drones and instruments through Swift Playgrounds. It’s an incredibly exciting and powerful way to learn.”

Other supported devices include UBTECH’s Jimu Robot MeeBot Kit, Wonder Workshop’s Dash Robot, and Skoogmusic’s Skoog 2.0 cube. You’ll be able to download this Swift Playgrounds update from the App Store beginning Monday, June 5.