Robots and Candy. What do these two things have in common?  Let me share with you…Pick n Mix just got a whole new upgrade!  What do I mean?  Meet Candybot.  On my recent travels, I went through Larnaca airport in Cyprus.  Something caught my eye.  The traditional pick n mix experience where you take a bag, grab a scoop and put your sweets into a bag had been roboticised.

With great curiosity I headed straight to the robot.  It was a bit strange.  But yet it drew me in.  A digital pick n mix experience. 

As a woman working in tech, who speaks about the impact of technology, my mind started whirring.  What was the impact of this innovation.  Here is what sprung to mind.

Image of sweets



Benefits of robotic Pick n Mix

This robotic innovation means that there is no more cheeky popping a sweet into your mouth, when selecting your mix.  I guess this minimises “theft”, maximises profit and also leads to better hygiene.  With less fingers touching sweets.

So in theory a win-win situation for company and customer.  Also potentially, there is the opportunity for the company to sell more.  At six euro a pot.  Everything is controlled.

Environmental Impacts

Setting those matters aside, I then considered further impacts.  What about the energy used to power the robot? Remember that behind all the tech we are using there is the big issue of energy hungry data centres.   Could the humble pick n mix experience now be contributing to some of our climate issues, indirectly from data centres? Also, what about loss of power. The robot needs power. 

Are all robots humanoid?

Another thought that occurred to me, was the humanoid nature of the robot.  As an educator, I wondered, if there was any other way to present the robot, not in humanoid form.  After all, we are living and working alongside robots quite a lot of the time.  How can we encourage our children to think about how, when and where, we meet and interact with robots?

Ideas to foster discussion and thinking on robotics

  • Build a simple robot together. Use kits or household items to create a basic robot. This hands-on activity can teach children about robotics components like motors, sensors and programming.
  • Visit a science museum or robotics exhibition.  Explore interactive displays and demonstrations to learn about the history, applications, and future of robotics. Many museums offer workshops or guided tours specifically designed for families.
  • Participate in robotics competitions or workshops.  Look for local events or workshops where children can engage in robotics challenges or learn from experts in the field. These experiences can foster teamwork, problem-solving skills, and creativity.
  • Watch documentaries or educational videos about robotics.  Sit down as a family to watch documentaries or online videos that showcase the latest advancements in robotics. Discuss key concepts and encourage children to ask questions and share their thoughts.
  • Experiment with coding and programming. Introduce children to coding through fun activities and games designed for beginners. There are many resources available online, including apps and websites that teach programming concepts in a playful way.

Further ideas for tech conversations

  • Read books with a tech theme. Encourage children to read for pleasure around tech topics. My children’s book series, The Digital Adventures of Ava and Chip, provides a great starting point for primary aged children.  I am also the founder of the charity Technology Books for Children, where you can find a range of tech titles for children up to age fourteen.
  • Explore real-world examples of robotics.  Take field trips to places like factories, warehouses, or research labs where robots are used in various industries. Seeing robots in action can help children understand how they are used in the real world and inspire them to learn more about robotics.

What else would you add? Is this a novelty or has pick n mix, had the greatest upgrade yet and could this experience be transferred to other areas.

To work with me, please reach out today!