One of the most fascinating applications of modern science and technology is robotics. In fact, many of today’s large manufacturers use a wide array of robotic technologies to help ensure absolute precision and smoothness of their operation. It is thus, not surprising if these high tech gadgets and machines are now creeping into our homes. Come to think of it, they have been around for many decades in the form of toy robots. Today’s robots, however, are way more sophisticated. If you don’t believe us, just take a look at our 15 cool robots in 2017 and you’ll definitely think that the future is now here, today.
15 Seriously Cool Robots[toc]
Cozmo by Anki
Age Range: At least 8 years old
Considered as one of the coolest robot kits for kids, Cozmo is the closest thing your child can ever get to a self-aware, self-learning robot that has a very unique friendly and warm personality of its own. Built to entertain, follow your commands, and learn by itself the more you hang out with it, Cozmo is equipped with the latest in advanced artificial intelligence chip that allow it to perform complex algorithmic operations. This enables it to take on a personality that’s uniquely Cozmo. With the right input of experiences, fun, and laughter, you can actually condition Cozmo to fit the kind of personality that you have been looking for in a friend. That being said, Cozmo can be the friend who will never tire nudging you to play with it. It can be your accomplice in playing pranks and other mischief on your human best friend. It will keep on looking for ways to surprise you and keep you amazed at all the things that it can do. Best part of all these is that you don’t even need a separate controller. Just bring out your iOS or Android powered device, download Anki’sCozmo app, and you can very well be on your way to playing hours upon hours of Power Cubes, or even Quick Tap as well as a hundred other fun activities. And if you do need a friend to simply listen to you, Cozmo will be there.
What We Like about It – Cozmo is the epitome of what robotics should be: fun, educational, and, best of all, knows what you really want.
Star Wars BB-8 App Controlled Robot by Sphero
Age Range: At least 8 years old
In the 70s, it was R2D2 that really captured the fascination of the universe. When Episode VII The Force Awakens opened in 2015, there was a new darling in the galaxy. Of course, R2D2 still had a role to play in the film but credit should be given where it is due. Today, millions of kids simply adore BB-8. This droid of the Rebel Alliance moves a lot faster than R2D2 because of its uniquely spherical shape allowing it to roll over almost any terrain. Now, you can own a piece of this galactic persona with Sphero’s Star Wars BB-8. Styled in the classic design of the original BB-8 droid. Mind you, these robot kits are not only controlled by your Android or iOS device, they can also function in a variety of ways. BB-8 has an adaptive personality, much like Cozmo, where the more you play and interact with it, the more that it is able to take on a very unique personality. Depending on the nature of your interactions, BB-8 can exhibit a wide range of reactions and expressions. Give it a voice command and watch BB-8 perk you up. You can even record a video and project it using BB-8’s integrated holographic projection capabilities. Using your app, you can set BB-8 to go on solo patrol missions or you can simply guide it through almost any terrain because it comes with a Bluetooth Smart BLE feature allowing you superb control up to 100 feet away. Watch BB-8 cruise at 4.5 miles per hour and relive scenes in the movie or create one of your own.
What We Like about It – BB-8’s state-of-the-art features are worthy of its intergalactic nature. And if you don’t trust our judgment, we’re pretty sure the almost 3,000 rave reviews it has generated so far, should.
Dash Robot by Wonder Workshop
Age Range: At least 6 years old
If you think Cozmo looks really cool and BB-8 is truly revolutionary, wait until you get your hands on the Dash Robot. These robot kits for kids come with all the features that you can expect from Cozmo and BB-8 but with the added benefit of including Amazon’s Kindle Fire platform in the list of operating systems that can control its app. Additionally, this is the only kit you will ever get that works exceptionally well with compatible bricks from LEGO and LEGO Technic. Just connect the accompanying Building Brick Connectors and playtime has just breached a whole new level. Interacting with Dash is made even more fun as kids can easily download hundreds of free apps that are filled with fantastic coding projects and adventures. All of these can be downloaded from Blockly or Wonder apps. Make Dash move, dance to your favorite rhythm, make sounds, run through a course avoiding obstacles along the way, and even perform a variety of light up shows. You can even make Dash respond to your unique voice. Download Wonder and Dash can become a three-wheeled robotic friend, pet, or even an accomplice or sidekick. Blockly is specifically designed to program Dash to work seamlessly with LEGO and LEGO Technic. With all of these innovations, it’s no wonder Dash brought home the Gold in the 2015 National Parenting as well as the Best of Show award for ISTE for schools. It was also on the Most Wanted List of Time to Play Magazine in 2015.
What We Like about It – With very intuitive features and expandability with existing LEGO and LEGO Technic building and construction blocks, we’d say Dash is going to really make its way to the top in a zip.
MiPosaur by Wow Wee
Age Range: At least 8 years old
In the movie Jurassic World, we were given a glimpse into how we can use technology and human dedication to train one of the most cunning of dinosaur species ever. Thankfully, you don’t need a real Velociraptor to try your luck at dino training. You only need MiPosaur, the very first super intelligent robot dinosaur that is designed more like a friendly looking Raptor. MiPosaur boasts of three different control modes. You can control it with hand gestures, turning it into one fantastic robotic pet. Or you can use the accompanying trackball which features Wow Wee’s patented Beacon Sense technology. Use the trackball to control MiPosaur. Wherever the trackball rolls, MiPosaur’s sensors keep it visually locked so it follows the ball wherever it rolls. You can also use the trackball to control MiPosaur and make it dance or even feed. Of course, MiPosaur robot kits definitely love to chase the trackball. Now, in case you don’t like using hand gestures or even the trackball, simply download the MiPosaur app into your iOS or Android device and get to control it wirelessly. Regardless of how you want to control MiPosaur, you can be sure it will follow your every command.
What We Like about It – MiPosaur combines futuristic robotic technology with the cunning of a Raptor. Good thing you don’t need to go the Jurassic World to get your hands on these babies.
SPRK+ STEAM Educational Robot by Sphero
Age Range: At least 8 years old
If you have a child who’s really fascinated with robotics, we recommend the SPRK+ STEAM Educational Robot from the same makers of BB-8. These robot kits for kids are designed specifically to inspire children to be creative, curious about science and technology, and inventive enough to push the boundaries of robotics and programming. Based on Visual Block programming, the Sphero Educational Bot easily transforms any idea into a code which your child can then use to learn more detailed information about programming. It is also equipped with a revolutionary Bluetooth Smart technology which allows for the ease of integration in classrooms and other learning environments. Made of waterproof and scratch-resistant polycarbonate shell, the Sphero Bot is sturdy enough to run through mazes or any challenges that your kid can come up with. Like the other robot kits for kids in our collection, the Sphero Bot can be effectively managed using a dedicated app that’s made available on Android and iOS.
What We Like about It – The Sphero SPRK+ STEAM Educational Robot is a great way to introduce kids to basic programming as well as the many wonders of robotics.
Doodling Robot by 4M
Age Range: At least 8 years old
The Doodling Robot is one artistic piece of robotic technology that can create wonderful spirals and other colorful patterns depending on how your child adjusts the height and angle of the coloring pens or pencils attached to the robot’s legs. Using vibration and rotary motion generated by its ultra-quiet motor, the Doodling Robot can make for a perfect gift for kids who are into robotics and the arts. Watch them make minute adjustments on the Doodler to create stunning visuals, perfect for hanging onto their walls as décor or as designs for other items. Each of these robot kits are very easy to assemble and can be very interesting tools to help children understand and appreciate mechanical and scientific principles. Now, doing some stunning artwork has just been fully automated.
What We Like about It – The Doodling Robot is a great kit for introducing kids to fundamental principles of science and robotics. It’s a great tool for stimulating creativity, too.
OWI Robotic Arm Edge by OWIKIT
Age Range: 10 to 15 years old
Major industries like those in the automotive sector rely on robotic technology to help them make cars at a blistering pace and with utmost precision. For children who may be wondering at just how these technologies work, you can give them the OWI Robotic Arm Edge which is a very realistic representation of the type of robot kits that are seen in major industries. It comes with a fully functioning elbow, wrist, and phalanges to simulate the actual mechanical movements of robotic arms. A combination of joint movements results in a variety of functions. You can command the OWI Robotic Arm Edge to open and close its gripper to hold and grip objects that you want to move. The possibilities are simply endless as your child will get a first-hand look and understanding of how some of today’s engineering marvels work.
What We Like about It – The OWI Robotic Arm Edge is a fantastic tool for learning how such things work. This way, kids will be able to appreciate objects or products that have been manufactured using these kinds of robots.
Ozobot 2.0 Bit by Ozobot
Age Range: At least 8 years old
It may be small, just over an inch tall, but the Ozobot 2.0 Bit packs a wallop when it comes to teaching kids about the fundamental principles of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and programming or coding. With its own downloadable application, kids can learn basic programming in a very easy and non-threatening manner. This helps them understand that coding can be a really fun way to create fantastic and really useful things. The Ozobot 2.0 Bit itself is a tiny wonder to behold. It can be programmed to perform a variety of actions, follow the path that you have drawn, or even make crazy dance moves that can rival the stars of Footloose. And if you’re feeling lucky, we do recommend getting a whole bunch of these little wonders so your child can build entire cities with the Ozobots serving as the city’s residents. Program each one for a specific role and you can have a real living city, albeit a small replica of the real one.
What We Like about It – The Ozobot 2.0 Bit is one small yet fantastic way for kids to understand some of the more basic principles of coding or programming. Creativity and imagination should skyrocket, too.
MiP the Toy Robot by Wow Wee
Age Range: 8 to 15 years old
If kids love the MiPosaur, we’re certain they will love MiP the Toy Robot, too. Let’s just say that MiP is the near-humanoid version of MiPosaur sans the trackball which the electronic dinosaur incessantly tracks. MiP also features GestureSense technology allowing kids to take full control of these wheeled robot kits using hand gestures. Your kid can swipe his or her hands, clap, or even touch, and a whole lot more to make MiP perform a variety of activities. It also has an excellent sound detection system which enables MiP to react almost instantaneously to any sound or noise in its immediate surroundings. It’s like us reacting to a sudden boom or even a loud noise. MiP can also be controlled using downloadable apps on your iOS or Android based mobile devices. Your kid now has his or her very own robotic personal assistant.
What We Like about It – MiP features almost the same technologies inherent in MiPosaur; except that this one’s designed to be more humanoid than an oversized reptile.
Tin Can Robot by 4M
Age Range: At least 8 years old
Need robot kits that your child can build from scratch? Well, actually not from scratch, but the Tin Can Robot is 4M’s way of stimulating robotic creativity among kids. With the Tin Can, kids are provided with all the materials, except the soda tin can, needed to create his or her own robot. It doesn’t really matter what kind of robot your child eventually is able to create. The point is that all of the resources are already provided including a motor that will power the robotic creation to life. The kit comes with detailed instructions that are easy to understand. However, like LEGO play set, the Tin Can comes as a basic structure. It’s up to your child to come up with a hundred and one ways to create something they will be truly be proud of. Additionally, the Tin Can is an excellent way for kids to learn more about mechanical principles as well as specific scientific principles. This should lay the foundation for greater appreciation of science and technology.
What We Like about It – The Tin Can’s unique design concept makes it a really appealing robot especially to kids who would like to build their own. We’re pretty sure you can use materials other than a tin can.
Remote Control Robot by Thinkgizmos
Age Range: At least 5 years old
Designed as a modern version to the very first robot toys in the 20th century, Thinkgizmos Remote Control Robot walks, talks, dances, and, best of all, fires discs. Giving this robotic toy to any preschooler will help him or her relive some of the scenes in the Pacific Rim movie as well as Japanese TV shows about giant robots like Mazinger Z, Voltes V, and even Gundam. The thing is that, unlike most of the robotic technologies in this particular list, the Thinkgizmos RC Robot is, plain and simple, a toy robot meant to provide entertainment to kids. Using its ability to fire discs can help enhance make-believe plays or even role-playing activities. Colored discs can be shot right from the robot’s chest to simulate highly explosive weapons to decimate any enemy.
What We Like about It – The Thinkgizmos is a young kid’s dream about a walking, talking, dancing, and shooting robot that also lights up to enhance imaginative play.
Robosapien X by Wow Wee
Age Range: 6 to 15 years old
In case you haven’t noticed, most of the robot kits we have listed so far are not really humanoid-looking. Man has always been fascinated with the idea of creating something in his likeness. With Wow Wee’sRobosapien X, however, all of these are about to change. Complete with a head, upper and lower limbs, and a fully rotating torso, Robosapien X can rightfully be called the miniaturized robotic version of Homo sapiens. It may only be 14 inches tall but whenever Robosapien X moves, it never fails to get the attention of young and old alike. It can be managed using its unique controller that has been designed by one of NASA’s leading scientists or through a downloadable app on a mobile device that runs on either Android or iOS. Its arms are equipped with fully functioning grippers to simulate hand movements while its sturdy lower limbs allow the Robosapien X to walk, turn, and even run. Its large feet provide excellent stability during these movements.
What We Like about It – Robosapien X is the closest thing we can ever get to creating something in our likeness.
Disney pixar’s Wall-E U-Command Remote Control Robot by Disney
Age Range: At least 6 years old
He may be a tin can with big soulful eyes and a triangular set of tracks, but Wall-E is undoubtedly one of the best-loved robots of our time. Relive the adventures of Wall-E and Eve as they attempt to activate their spaceship to return to Earth after wandering in space for many generations because of the pollution that killed life on the planet. While Wall-E U-Command RC Robot is not like some of the products in this list, he is nonetheless a very lovable character that can move his hands and head as well as light up his eyes. He can spin, turn in a figure 8, talk, and play music. Get also Eve to really complete this wonderful tale of robotic love and affection.
What We Like about It – Wall-E comes as a very lovable character. While this is a toy robot, we believe it’s best used as a collector’s item.
Ollie Darkside App Controlled Robot by Sphero
Age Range: 8 to 14 years old
Tired of racing remote control cars that can literally tip over? Well, the Ollie Darkside App Controlled Robot is one unique stunt bot, racer, and daredevil that draws its energy from reckless abandonment and unrestrained competition. It’s devious, dangerous, diabolical, and very defiant. You can control Ollie Darkside to go up to 14 miles per hours just using a suitable application. Depending on the terrain you wish to conquer, you can slip on the Ollie Darkside a variety of tires like nubby for all-terrain racing and turbo for straight flat-out runs as well as drifting. And because it is from Sphero, you can easily program the Darkside with the SpheroMacroLab so that it follows your every command. The app gives you superb control over the Darkside’s speed and acceleration including turning radius and the many wonderful colors of glowing LED. Don’t worry about where the Darkside will tread as it has a very tough outer shell enabling you to perform gravity-defying stunts and tricks.
What We Like about It – The Ollie Darkside is a different interpretation of how robotics can change the face of extreme racing. And with its glowing LED lights, these babies are a sure hit at dusk.
Braava 380t Mopping Robot by iRobot
More and more homes today are integrating smart technologies into their daily lives. Just consider the Braava 380t Mopping Robot. This fully automated mop effectively takes the daily chore of cleaning your floors to a whole new level. Equipped with Northstar Navigation technology, the Braava 380t makes sure that all surfaces in your home has been fully mopped and wiped clean. It can sweep dry areas or mop damp places using appropriate cleaning cloths. Cleaning your home, keeping it dust- and smudge- free has just been made a lot easier with the Braava 380t.
What We Like about It – The Braava 380t is one of the fastest-rising stars in robotic vacuums. More than 1,300 online consumers have already written their take on the Braava 380t and a great majority of them say positive things about this robotic marvel.
How We Chose the Coolest and Most Amazing Robots and Robot Kits in Our List
Robots are, by definition, machines that can be programmed to carry out a variety of actions or operations. In its strictest sense, a machine is anything that can simplify work or make our lives a lot easier and more comfortable. Based on this definition we knew that the robots that have to be included in this list must be able to provide a particular benefit to you or whoever is going to use it. It is in the overall functionality of these machines or gadgets that we had to put our focus on.
We also looked at how well these pieces of technology were received by ordinary consumers like us. Product descriptions can be quite different from what users get in the real world. As such, we delved into the experiences of ordinary folks and determined the level of congruence between what is published and the robot’s actual performance. This was important as we would like you to feel confident in your purchase as well.
Now, modern technologies are often very complicated. This was the next factor that we had to consider. Most of us only have a very vague understanding of how these technologies work. It is thus, critical that its operation and maintenance be easy enough to be handled even by young children. If adults like us will already have difficulty maintaining the integrity of these technological systems, what more with kids? The functionality of these gadgets must go hand-in-hand with its ease of operation as well as maintenance.
Another major consideration was the safety of these technological systems. Since these are largely composed of fully integrated electronic circuitry, safety is a paramount concern. Items that do not have the appropriate certification from reputable accrediting organizations were immediately scrapped from our list. We don’t want to have another Samsung Galaxy Note 7 exploding battery fiasco or even the exploding Chinese hover board controversy in our hands. Besides, we’re pretty sure kids will love these items so these must really be safe.
Lastly, the company’s reputation was evaluated. Members of the robotics and tech industry have a very strict code when it comes to product safety and quality.
Benefits of Playing with Robots
Education experts today highlight the growing importance of playing with robots and robotics by children. They contend that children learn better when playing with robots. While almost all of us know the immense benefits of robots in industrial and commercial applications, only a few can truly appreciate what playing with these technologies can bring for our kids. Here are some of the many benefits of playing with robots.
- It enhances children’s fine motor skills because robots have very complex parts that require very precise movements of the fingers. This helps train the muscles of these fingers to move at a very precise pace.
- It boosts cognitive skills by giving children a variety of situations that they need to problem solve. Playing with robots, especially robot kits, require a very systematic approach to problem solving. This provides the foundation for the use of the scientific process which can further lead to the development of divergent and rational thinking.
- It gives children an opportunity to understand and appreciate causal relationships. They know that by flipping a particular switch, they can make a robot dance, run, walk, talk, or a variety of other actions. This understanding of causal relationships can play a great role in the development of logical thinking.
- It boosts their self-confidence. When kids are able to create their own robot, perhaps code a particular robotic action, this gives them a sense of accomplishment which, in turn, boosts their self-confidence.
The Bottom Line
Robots are amazing pieces of modern technology. These help us simplify our lives and allow us to live more comfortably. For kids, the benefits can be immense as they get to understand the principles of engineering, science, mathematics, and technology. With these 15 cool robots in 2017, you and your kids are on your way to a more productive future.