Toy robot manufacturer Sphero has stopped making its Disney and Marvel licensed products after deciding that the return on the investment isn't strong enough. Products currently on shelves will continue to be sold and supported, but once they're gone, that's it.
Sphero is known for creating both educational and recreational robots in a variety of different forms. The original Sphero was a robotic ball, and the company has since released movie tie-ins and numerous upgrades. Bolt is something of a modern-day reimagining of the company's very first product.
In late 2016, San Francisco-based robotics company Anki released Cozmo, a robotic toy brimming with personality. The little guy looked like something out of Wall-E, with its curious animation and expressive digital eyes. Now, Anki's back at it with a new tiny robot named Vector that clearly shares Cozmo's DNA, but promises more functionality.
Amazon is working in earnest on domestic robots, Bloomberg reports. The project is being called Vesta, after the goddess of home and family in Roman mythology. Amazon apparently hopes to begin testing the robots by the end of this year, and is targeting a 2019 launch date.
Cleaning your own home is so tedious and unpleasant, but paying people to do it can get expensive over time. If only there were some way to enslave a small robot and make it clean up after you. Actually, that's been a thing for years. The Neato Botvac D7 is new, though. This robot vacuum comes with voice assistant integrations and smart features most enslaved robots can only dream about.
Anki's first foray into consumer AI toys was Anki Drive (later Overdrive), and earlier this year the company announced a new AI product. It's a robot called Cozmo, and it's available today. Unlike some of the other consumer robots, Cozmo doesn't pretend to be a personal assistant or household helper. It's a toy, but a smart toy with personality.
Physics games are thick on the ground on mobile platforms. And to be honest, Off Bot Out from developer Martin Magni doesn't seem to offer much in the way of new ideas... at least at the start. But building on the basic tools introduced in the first few levels and expanding on them with a surprisingly rich physics engine, the game gets much more complex very quickly. Before long Odd Bot Out becomes something that is, if not wholly unique, then certainly special.
The basic story is that you're a defective robot who's failed the height test - apparently your creators subscribe to the Irkin Armada school of meritocracy.
Today is a really good day for giant robot enthusiasts on Android. In addition to the XCOM expansion Enemy Within, which features a ton of mechanized combat, Android gamers now have access to Strike Suit Zero, an indie PC game that's all about shooting robots in space. Unfortunately, you're only getting access to this game if you have a SHIELD Tablet. Sorry, giant robot fans: you're beholden to NVIDIA for your fix at the moment.
Strike Suit Zero is basically a new take on the Robotech concept: your customizable death machine shifts from space fighter to robot to flexibly handle the game's frantic combat.
The truth is out there... and you can shoot it. XCOM: Enemy Unknown is one of the best turn-based strategy games in years, which is why we were thrilled to see it get a mobile re-release on Android (even if we did have a hefty wait behind iOS). You can now get the expansion pack to the original, Enemy Within, and surprisingly it's being released as a standalone game - that means that unlike the PC and console versions, you don't have to own the original to play it.
XCOM: Enemy Within is essentially the same game as Enemy Unknown, plus a whole lot of extra content.
When it comes to toys you can control from your smartphone, few are quite as fun or inspiring as Sphero. Orbotix blew onto the scene a little over a year ago with an awesome choreographed display in Union Square. The company followed up on the original with an upgraded v2.0 of the robotic ball which began shipping in September, but that wasn't to be the end of the line. Orbotix is at it again with a completely redesigned robot, dubbed Sphero 2B.
The new form factor abandons the spherical shape of its predecessors for a more elongated body and a pair of serious off-road tires - it almost looks like a futuristic monster truck.