Friday, August 10, 2007

Robosapien V2

This toy was selling for only 50 quid the other day. I had wanted to buy it online, from boots. But it was all snapped up before I managed to get my order in. It's still selling for 100 quid at Argos though. With my nectar discounts, I can possibly shave off another 10 quid. It's SRP is GBP 200. Oh, in case you were wondering, I'm thinking of getting it for my nephew, who is about 6. Why would a grown man like me want such a toy? Please!

The robot is called Robosapien V2. It is the second generation robot, from famous MIT roboticist, Mark Tilden. He is famous for his philosophy of BEAM robotics, which is essentially keeping things simple. He finally managed to find a way to convince people that simple is good. Simple can produce very complicated results. There is a whole family of products, including Robosapien (the boss) and his minions (Roboraptor and Robopet).

According to the wikipedia article, it's most notable actions include:

  • Reacting to items placed close to it's face.
  • When shown a bowling pin, he will ask you to place it in his hand. He will then try to find more bowling pins directly in front of him and if found, will put the bowling pin in his hand next to them.
  • He can play bowling with his green bowling ball.
  • He will utter phrases relevant to each of his notable behaviors. For example, if you take an object he was tracking out of his view he will say "Where did it go?" or "Signal Lost!". When you place a red bowling pin in his hand, he will say "These belong on the floor!".
  • Free roam mode where he will explore his environment, avoiding obstacles with his infrared sensors.
  • React to noises in the room.
It's amazing what goes into the toys for kids these days. Gone are the days when toy robots were nothing but plastic figurines filled with air and powered by imagination. Kids these days have interactive toys that not only move, but can talk and play games with them. Oh yes, the robot is fully programmable too. So, it's not only smart, it can be taught new tricks!

This robot is rated 8+, which means it's suitable for kids 8 and up. Although my nephew is not quite the right age yet, I think he's smart enough to figure out how to play with it. Alternatively, I could shop around to see if I can find the original Robosapien instead. The original is cheaper and much simpler to play with. It might be useful as a starter toy. I could always get him this one in a couple of years time.

PS: Actually, I want to play with it myself, but a grown man like me needs an excuse to buy an 8+ rated toy!!

No comments: