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(Pocket-lint) - Sphero - the company that made its name with smartphone-controlled robots - has launched its latest project. It's called the Sphero Indi, and it's designed to help kids program. 

The Indi is a programmable car aimed at helping early learners to grasp the basics of programming through play. 

Indi is controlled, essentially, by colour. It ships with dedicated colour cards which, when it drives over them, trigger a response from the car. Whether that be to turn in a certain direction, slow down, stop or spin on the spot. 

Until the Indi, Sphero's educational toys were built for kids from 7/8 years-old and upwards, but Indi is different in that it's designed for younger children. 

In the UK, it's the equivalent of pre-school ages through to about year 1/2. 

What makes Indi different to most of Sphero's other products is that you don't need a device. While you can use a phone and an app to program various elements, it can work without one. 

By placing the colour cards in a sequence or pattern the idea is that kids learn problem solving skills in a way that's fun. Rather than sit them down with a boring robot, they get a toy car and brightly coloured cards. 

There are eight colour cards in total, each of them give their own command to the Indi, which reads them using a built-in colour sensor.

Go over a light green card and it'll go fast, or yellow slows down and red stops. There are cards for turning 90 degrees and others for 45 degrees (both left and right), plus a purple 'celebrate' tile. 

Each individual kit comes with the robot, a charging case, 20 colour tiles, 15 challenge cards and 2 sheets of decorative stickers. It's available for pre-order now for $124.99. Shipping is due to start in September. It's also available for educational establishments in a 'Class Pack' which contains eight Indis for $1,199.99. 

Writing by Cam Bunton.