Sphero first burst onto the scene in 2011 with an adorable spherical robot that could be controlled with a smartphone. Since then, the company has released all kinds of unique products based on this concept, like these Star Wars robots, a Lightning McQueen RC car, and the Bolt. Right now, you can snag one of Sphero's more ambitious products, the Sphero RVR, for $172.34 ($77.65 off) at Amazon. Read More
Google’s numerous side projects include plenty of experimental apps and services canceled before their time, and few get to live as long as Androidify has. Released in 2011, the quirky little app allowed you to customize the iconic green Android bot with clothes, shoes, and whatnots. Even though the app didn’t see an update after 2016, it persisted all this while alongside its web peer. But now, Androidify is gone from both the Play Store and web, probably for good. Read More
If your 2020 resolution is to spend less time cleaning, it's time for you to get a robot vacuum; and you're in luck, as the Eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 30 is on sale at just $153 on Amazon, which is $117 less than usual. Read More
Anker is known for building reliable yet relatively affordable products. Its Eufy sub-brand focuses on delivering the same promise for smart-home appliances such as robot vacuums, mops, smart cameras, doorbells, light bulbs, and more. This Black Friday, you can save up to $100 on a range of robot vacuums and mops, with models as low as $180. Read More
As the name might suggest, Sphero's claim to fame is its sphere-shaped toy robots. These include the original Sphero, Sphero 2.0, Sphero Mini, BB-8, and BB-9E. The company has also been marketing some of its products towards education as STEM learning tools, particularly with the SPRK+.
Sphero's latest product is another educational robot - the Bolt. It's a minor upgrade from the existing SPRK+, with a configurable LED matrix display, infrared sensors for communicating with other robots, and "more than two hours of continuous play."
I think the Sphero Bolt is a well-designed product, but I'm not sure there's enough value to justify the $150 price tag, especially when it's only an iterative improvement over the company's existing robots. Read More
A few months ago, I reviewed the Collectors Edition of Anki's popular 'Cozmo' robot. Cozmo was first and foremost a toy, but the app included a 'Code Lab' where owners could create simple block-based programs (Anki has even extended that in subsequent updates).
After that review, Wonder Workshop asked me if I wanted to try out two of its toy robots - the 'Dot' and 'Cue.' Unlike the Cozmo, where coding functionality was more of an afterthought, programming is at the heart of the Dot and Cue. Almost all the activities you can do with these robots involve some level of coding, but they are accessible enough for most kids to get some enjoyment out of them. Read More
Back in September, I got to try out the Cozmo Collector's Edition, a re-release of the 'Cozmo' app-controlled toy from last year. I definitely enjoyed using it, but the high price point of $179 made it a tough sell for many. Now you can get the original version for $127, a savings of $53. Read More
After a nearly 12-year absence, Sony announced the return of the aibo robot pet. The new model of aibo, ERS-1000, uses an unspecified 64-bit quad core CPU, in addition to a variety of custom-developed actuators and sensors allowing aibo to move freely and interact with humans and the environment. The aibo can move its body along 22 axes, and can provide visual cues with OLED-display eyes. Four microphones and a speaker facilitate audio input and output, and two fisheye cameras with simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) capabilities allow it to detect objects, in much the same way self-driving car technology works. Read More
When I was young, I absolutely loved toy robots. I remember having a particular fascination for toys from WowWee, like the 'Robosapien' and the 'Roboraptor.' I managed to convince my parents one year to get the Roboraptor for my birthday, which I still own to this day. It was pretty basic by today's standards (the most advanced part of it was the IR sensor), but it was awesome at the time.
A few years later, I got my hands on the second-generation LEGO Mindstorms NXT. It was a robotics kit with pieces like IR sensors and motors, but it used LEGO's standard 'Technic' pieces. Read More