Want to get your kids interested in coding with AI? Or maybe you’re a science teacher, starting to get some hard questions about AI …. and what it all means? Tynker’s brand-new AI blocks make artificial intelligence exciting. Here are some short demos so you can see the possibilities:
Create interactive digital costumes —
and pose-tracking exercise games!
Make animations that follow your every move —
achieve the effect with AI!
These webcam-enabled, AI-powered projects make your child or students the star of the show — and help programming with AI come alive, for even the youngest coders. But you might be wondering, “What’s happening behind the scenes? And how is this AI, after all?”
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What Makes AI Special
In the world of computers, there are two main types of programs: traditional software and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. Traditional computer programs, like the apps and games we’re most familiar with, follow a set of rules given by programmers to perform a particular task. Most computer programs are like following a recipe step-by-step to make a cake.
But programming with AI adds something new. Instead of rigid instructions for the program to follow, AI models are trained on massive amounts of data, much like how we humans learn from our experiences. Using this training data, AIs can make predictions. Imagine a very young child that’s shown countless pictures of different animals — over time, and with enough feedback, the child learns to recognize animals. AI systems work in a similar kind of way. AI models analyze tons of data to learn patterns and make predictions on their own.
Image-classifying AIs can tell the difference between cats and dogs…
based on evaluating thousands of photos!
Behind the scenes, Tynker’s AI system has been designed to recognize hands and fingers based on a vast collection of pictures. Imagine this AI as someone who has studied hundreds of thousands of images showing different hand poses. So when you show your hand to the AI through the webcam, it compares what it sees with its extensive knowledge to predict the location of your hand — and then accurately track the positions of your fingers as you move them.
A simple hand-tracking AI project, coded in Tynker —
the user can “flick their fingers” to splatter paint
This massive amount of training data allows the AI model to work effectively regardless of what’s in your webcam’s background and tackle a totally unique scenario (for example, your messy room, poor lighting, or your aunt’s busy wallpaper)! Tynker’s face-tracking and pose-tracking blocks work in much the same way.
Tynker’s NLP Blocks
Tynker’s hand-tracking and pose-tracking AI blocks are pretrained, meaning students don’t need to give the AI data to use them. They “just work,” right out of the box.
If you want your students to better understand how AIs require meaningful training data, and how professional AI programmers might “start from scratch,” try out Tynker’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) blocks. With NLP, you can create a text classifier and then provide it with sample input tied to a particular intent. It’s like teaching an AI to understand different questions and give appropriate responses.
Consider this starter code, for a movie review classifier:
This simple text classifier named “movie review” can
interpret two possible outcomes: Happy and unhappy movie-goers.
And of course, the more training data you provide the classifier (in the form of inputs), the better that classifier is able to handle unique user input. Want more details? Read this short tutorial to get a better idea of how it works and REMIX the sample project to look inside. Or take Tynker’s AI Course and make an interactive “Solve the Mystery” NLP game where you are the detective!
With the NLP blocks, you can create all kinds of applications that use Natural Language as input — imagine a flexible personality quiz, a dungeon crawler powered by NLP, or any kind of interactive story! The possibilities of NLP are endless.
Cool Tynker AI Courses and Tutorials
Find Tynker’s AI with block coding course in your student dashboard (visit Games & Apps, then STEM & AI). You’ll go beyond the basics of AI to explore cutting-edge topics like Machine Learning (ML), Computer Vision (CV), Large-Language Models (LLMs) and so much more.
You can also find free starter tutorials, too, available for everyone (Project > Create a New Project > STEM & AI). Even more free tutorials are available at the blog article linked below.
Add AI Blocks to Any Project
Have an existing Tynker project you want to add AI effects to? You also enable these blocks right from Tynker Workshop. Click More (+) at the bottom of the code palette, then select the AI/ML tab.
Tip: Enable only the Tynker extensions you need. It usually makes sense to enable these extensions one-at-a-time.
More than that, students dive into AI ethics, explore the latest LLM technologies hands-on, and consider how AI might impact our future.
Helpful AI Links
We can’t wait to see what cool AI-powered games
that you’ll make with Tynker’s AI blocks!
Check out Tynker’s Curriculum and learn more about inspiring the next generation to change the world through code.