We all felt that there was an immense lack of educational programming tools aimed at children. Specifically, to our surprise, there is not a single app on the google app store with this purpose in mind. This realization, paired with our shared interest in Artificial Intelligence, gave birth to the app we now call the AI Lab. The premise of the app is to allow the user to code their own AI right from their phone for a selection of arcade games. They can then pit their AI off against other people's AI's online. This constant process of learning, testing, and improvement results in a fun and effective environment to learn the basics of coding for all ages.
The app involves three main sections: Learn, Code, and Play.
In Learn, the user can partake in tutorials which cover basic programming structures like if statements, variables, function and loops. They also learn the API functions we made for them to make controlling the arcade games simple.
In Code, the player uses what they learned to create an AI for one of several arcade games including Pong and Tanks. The coding is written in lua and is done right on the phone from a custom made Integrated Development Environment, equipped with our own syntax highlighting and autocomplete
Finally, in Play, the user is paired off against someone of a similar skill level online. Each player views the game being played in real-time using AWS. The player can review the outcome as many times as they like, and hopefully learn from both their losses and wins to become increasingly better programmers.