By Anthony Silva, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 New England Business Editor

ARLINGTON (CBS) – An Arlington start-up, Kinderlab Robotics, is raising money on Kickstarter to launch an innovative robot kit aimed at kids four to seven.

The robot, called Kibo, uses children’s blocks to build the computer program that runs the wooden robot’s movements and sounds.

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“Kibo is played with partly by programming it, partly by building it, but a huge amount of it has to do with expressing yourself via art and creativity, to turn the robot into different characters and different vehicles,” according to company co-founder Mitch Rosenberg. “It’s a very open ended toy.”

Rosenberg says the idea was hatched when he spoke with co-founder Marina Umaschi Bers.

“Marina and I had met socially, and she was telling me about very exciting research she was doing on how young children acquire technical understanding, knowledge of the engineering process, things you generally don’t associate with children under the age of eight. I was very excited to hear that she had learned a lot about how to improve the way children learn, and get enthusiastic about these topics.”

Bers says she knew there was a market for a smart robot.

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“Every time I would give a talk to present results of the research into developing these robots, people would say ‘How can I buy one, where can I get it?'”

She says users of Kibo don’t need a screen, a tablet or a phone.

“The way children program the robot is with wooden blocks. Four to seven year old children, which is what Kibo is targeted for, are very used to playing with blocks,” she adds.

Bers has been working on the idea for Kibo for seven years.

Kinderlab Robotics is raising money on the Kickstarter crowdfunding site, with the goal of launching the product this year.

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