2014 Christmas is almost here. And as always children are very excitedly waiting for that amazing gift under the tree. What will it be?
Similarly as a parent (or a grand parent) you are excited but in a dilemma. You are looking for the right toy … getting suggestions from your children themselves and from other parents and then scanning the web. You want to gift the best – a toy which the kids will enjoy, will add to their knowledge and skills and should deliver value for your money.
I am a bit of a futurist and I foresee a trend – robots and smart robotic technology with artificial intelligence will start playing a significant roles in our lives, more so in the lives of our children. What better way to make them aware and get familiar with the future technology than with a robotic toy. I decided to gift my kids robotic toys and started looking for the best and the most exciting toys for my son and daughter … and I spent hours speaking to other parents and scanning the internet to get a balanced review.
Since that last couple of years robotic toys have got better and better as robotic lab research developments are making their way into toys.
Following are the Top Ten Robotic Toys of 2014 which I shortlisted for my kids. I scanned both US and European online toy stores, read the reviews and rating in sites of Toys R Us, Argos, Hamleys and many more to come up with the list. All the the toys feature in their ‘Top 10 List’ of toys.
Here’s the list which is in no specific order but certainly includes the top of the top amongst all robotic toys of 2014.
1. VTech Watch with Camera- The coolest wearable robotic toy
VTech Kiddizoom Watch is an entirely different kind of smart watch. It is wearable robotic toy for kids with 50 clock design faces… but that is not what kids love it for. What kids love about it is the 0.3MP camera and recorder which they use for clicking photographs, recording 60 second videos and recording voices (It can store about 800 photos or 6 minutes of video). The best part is that it has a built-in video editing capability with fun effects and wacky voice changing effects. Kids go wild creating these crazy videos, download these on to a tablet or computer and then share with friends and family.
This smart watch also has 4 built-in games and more can be downloaded from VTechs Learning Lodge. The watch itself includes a countdown timer and stopwatch. It comes with its own re-chargeable battery that can last up to 2 weeks on a full charge. It a tough, durable kid-proof watch with a tough rubbery exterior.
Lego Mindstorms EV3 is an amazing upgraded DIY robot kit which inspires kids to build their own robot and then program the robot. It gives kids the complete experience, engagement and pride of building their very own programmable robot.
Like all Lego products it has multiple parts and an instruction booklet. The parts, include motor parts, remote control and of course the brain – the EV3 brick with powerful ARM9 processor and much more.
After programming the robot becomes interactive and it interacts with you using its sensors or you can use the RC.
This DIY Robot is easy to use and if you need help there is a large online community where you learn new programming tricks as well.
The Wowwee Robosapien X is humanoid programmable RC robot toy which is pure fun to learn and play. It has been developed by a NASA scientist who has ensured that it a true new age robotic toy. The Robosapien has seen many upgrades and iterations since the last 10 years and this is the latest one.
It has two fully functional arms with two types of grippers. It moves around, dances, walks, runs and turns the way you want. It can wander around and feel his way around with its touch sensors.
It is a real next gen RC robot toy which can keep kids engaged for hours of programming to teach Robosapien new tricks.
Air Hogs Helix X4 stunt quad copter is a real easy to handle flying robot copter which performs amazing back-flips, barrel rolls and 180 flips on a press of a button. It delivers an unbelievable flight experience and stability with its 4 ducted fans and gyroscopic stabilization which provides flight stability.
As compared to other copters it is extremely maneuverable thanks to the construction of this flying robot and the amazing 4 channel 2.4 Ghz, remote control. The 4 fans allows the pilot-controller to hover the quad copter at a place or fly around obstacles smoothly. First time users as well as pros find this toy funtastic.
Boomer Zoomer, the robot dinosaur has a super cool and playful personality. This interactive robot dinosaur is almost like a pet and just loves to have fun with kids. It is usually cool but when he gets angry he gets wild which drives kids go crazy with more excitement.
This dinosaur toy moves around deftly balancing itself on its two legs with smooth head, neck and tail movements thanks to the Balancing Technology (TM) it posseses. The best part is that it responds to hand gestures. It is a great learner; the more you play around with him the quicker he responds to your commands. You can also command it with a remote control.
Tekta T-Rex Robot Dinosaur robotic toy has a really cute walk which kids love. It is like a cute puppy which children fall in love with. What kids find exciting is the that this toy dinosaur responds to hand gesture commands thanks to the latest robotic technology it has. With hand gestures it can be asked to walk, stop and move his hands and tail. It had a wide range of motions and sounds and can detect movement around it. If you walk towards it acknowledges your presence with a roar.
The actual T-Rex dinosaur was certainly scary but this toy dinosaur loves to be stroked on his face and he roars with pleasure. He will even let you know how he is feeling with his super expressive eyes. When he gets angry his eyes glow red and roars dangerously which children simply love to experience.
7. Anki Cars Drive Starter Kit Smart, RC Robot Car – Brings video gaming to life
Anki DRIVE Starter Kit Smart RC Robot Car is a racing game with this amazing robotic toy car which a video gamer or a rookie toy car racer will both enjoy. In fact grandparents can play with the kids with a wee bit of training.
It is an incredible robotic technology and extremely well executed. What gives it the whizzing edge is the Artificial Intelligence (AI). As you race your car and drive to outsmart the car with the AI on the big race track which you lay on the floor you will feel the adrenaline rush. The AI adds the real edge to the races, as the AI powered car can win even at “medium” intelligence/difficulty. The game can be played with up to 4 players with 4 cars on the track.
MiP is the first balancing robot toy which can be operated with hand gestures and your smart phone. It zips around on its own 2 wheels autonomously. With your hand gesture you can make it move around or swipe and swivel in any direction. And it will also follow you around. The best part is that you can make it learn by programming with up to 50 hand swipes and it will play it back. It can also carry weight…so check how much weight can it carry for you.
The coolest feature is that your smart phone can be used as the remote control. Just download an iOS or Android app to make MiP zip drive around according to your wish. Define a path on your phone and it will follow the path. Get another MiP and you can a boxing match at hand. Play music and it will dance around.
Cayla the intelligent, talking doll is really, really something! Your daughter can actually spend hours with her having conversation, playing games or simply chatting. Cayla will increase her knowledge and intelligence, improve her social skills and of course be the doll she would like to take care of.
Cayla has artificial intelligence (AI) technology which is used in robotics technology to make her a knowledgeable and intelligent companion for any kid. While Cayla becomes a girls best friend, even boys want to interact and play with her because of her intelligence.
Kids instantly fall in love with Zoomer the adorable robotic dog toy. Zoomer is full of energy and tricks which keeps 5 to 10 year olds entertained and engaged. Zoomer listens to voice commands (in English, French and Spanish) which kids find simply awesome.
The other add-on benefit of this robot dog toy is that it helps kids undergoing speech therapy practice commands till Zoomer responds. Zoomer barks, talks, sits, lays over and even shakes its paws on voice commands. It also responds to gestures which is awesome. Its best tricks are in the `secret trick mode’. It can even be taught new tricks which kids would love.