A model kit that helps children build and program their own toy cars has been recognised by one of the world’s top innovation award shows for improving kids’ lives.
SAM Labs, which is based in London and graduated from Microsoft’s start-up programme in 2014, has revealed that its Curious Cars set has been named an Honoree in the Tech For A Better World category in the CES 2017 Innovation Awards.
The event is sponsored by the Consumer Technology Association, the producer of CES 2017, the global consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshow that is held every year in Las Vegas.
The Curious Cars Kit will be displayed at CES 2017, from January 5-8, after a panel of judges decided that SAM’s product showed innovative design and engineering, and could “make a positive impact to the quality of life for its users, or those affected by its use”.
Joachim Horn, founder and chief executive of SAM Labs, said: “We feel honoured and humbled. This is one of the toughest prizes to get, so we are a bit in awe and extremely pleased.
“Being shown at CES is going to be enormous for the brand. It’s the biggest consumer electronics show on the planet, everyone is there and everyone is looking at the products.”
The kit comes with six SAM blocks (a SAM RGB Light, a SAM Tilt, a SAM Button, two DC motors and a Slider), a car chassis, a controller, two wheels, one directional wheel, six paper bodies (including a template to create your own), an instruction booklet, a book of “Crazy Cool Ideas”, a USB charging cables and a Bluetooth USB dongle.
Kids then use SAM’s Space App to program the car to move as fast as they want in any direction, and can even race friends’ vehicles.
The product was developed in Microsoft’s Accelerator program, a global initiative that helps entrepreneurs build great companies. Microsoft runs seven schemes across the world, offering the tools, resources, knowledge and expertise start-ups need to scale their business, bring innovative services to market and reach new customers.
Warwick Hill, CEO-in-Residence at Microsoft Accelerator London, said: “SAM Labs is increasingly being seen as an important company in the education ecosystem as its products stimulate the creative and engineering aspirations in children of all ages.
“As a successful graduate of the Microsoft Accelerator program in London, it is great to see them building their business around the world and improve educational outcomes alongside Microsoft.
“Joachim and the SAM Labs team continue to innovate and stimulate change in the education industry, which is vital if we are to produce technically inquisitive adults of tomorrow.”
Horn added: “The Accelerator was massive for us. The company started with one person and now we have 27 people; and Microsoft is still helping us. We know we can go back to ask them things.
“We have sold more Curious Cars kits than every other kit combined, but we also have a really innovative and fun kits in the pipeline, too.”