I know, you come here for flying drones, but we get just as excited about similar technologies going into drones that don’t fly. That is why we are here today, we hope you enjoy, but we just want to share some cool toy robots we’ve had our eye on.
Please forgive the diversion, today is all about having some fun in the house.
Fun flying toy drones:
The main reason we’re covering non-flying drones today is the Sphero BB-8. We have it in our list of fun drones you can control with your mobile device, and we know there are a bunch more like it out there.
If you live in a place like my area, winter is a tough time to get outside to fly, flying indoors has its limits, but these robots here today are good to go!
You’ve probably seen this guy before, the Sphero BB-8 is about 6 inches tall and is quite impressive how well it scoots around. Interactions with the robots are via mobile device or from the Force Band, that enables gesture control.
Check out the Sphero BB-8 from $90 on Amazon. The price jumped in December, 2019, it might be selling out of inventory now.
DJI Robomaster S1
Announced just before the end of the school year in 2019, the DJI Robomaster S1 is designed for college-level competition, but that doesn’t mean children of all ages can’t take part in the fun. First, you’ll learn how it all works as you assemble the machine from parts, then you can learn how to work it by coding navigation routines and more. It has a built-in software base with some powerful features as is, including object detection for follow-me modes and hand gestures. Best of all, the Robomaster S1 can identify other S1 units, packed with laser and impact sensors, take part in air soft or laser battles against your friends!
Check out the DJI Robomaster S1 for $499 today.
Fun to note, our team at Android Authority gave the Robomaster S1 an award at CES 2020.
UBTech Jimu robo building kits
The folks at UBTech know what we like, they’ve combined Lego-type blocks, motors, other electronics, and a smart app that controls your creation. STEP programs can take advantage of the custom coding tools to make their creations come to life in unique ways. There are many different kits available, and they all have companion apps to control, but you can mix and match for your own creation as well. Give yourself some time, you’ll have hundreds of pieces to put together before you can play.
Kits start at around $99 retail value, but you’re likely to find them on sale for $75 or less. Like this Firebot Kit for $122 on Amazon today.
Capitalizing on the cute factor, the folks at Anki have focused on AI to build an interactive robot that grows with you. The Anki Vector is designed to be a companion, not just a toy robot. Ask Vector to perform tasks like take photos or tell you the weather, try not to get weirded out when it asks how you are doing today and expect new features to roll out via wireless updates in the future.
The Anki Vector is $150 on Amazon today. (Company closed, get it while it lasts.)
See a trend here? Sphero is making some high-quality toys with these machines, making fun, interactive and very capable robots. Fans of the series should also appreciate how few sacrifices are made to make these toys possible, they look and act much like their on-screen counterparts.
Check out the Sphero R2-D2 from $50 on Amazon today.
Now also available, Sphero R2-Q5 from $48, embrace the dark side.
Last one of these, for now, the Sphero BB-9E is from the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi. BB-9E is the evil version of BB-8, if you’ll accept that description, making for a great set if you opt for all three Sphero units.
Check out the Sphero BB-9E from $60 on Amazon today.
Lego Boost Creative Toolbox
Five robots in one, plus interactive coding experience for kids of all ages (or, 7 – 12, if you go by Lego’s description.) 847 Lego pieces combine for more than a few robot ideas, just build, code and enjoy.
Check out the Lego Boost Creative Toolbox 17101 for $128 on Amazon today.
Again focusing on education and learning how to code, Cozmo by Anki is a small front loader tractor type robot. The LCD face on the front is reminiscent of Thomas the train, but again, you and your child get to program the face and actions of the toy. More recent app updates have taken Coszmo well beyond being just an education tool, this little robot can roam the house on its own and more, certainly a fun robot.
Check out the Anki Cozmo for $160 on Amazon today. (Company closed, buy while supplies last.)
Lego Mindstorms EV3
If the previous Lego kit was too simple for you, the Minstorms EV3 31313 robot kit should satisfy. It has a particular aesthetic for a more ‘evil’ looking robot, with one of the many build instructions making a snake. Otherwise, I get a Japanese samurai battle robot feel from it. This is a bit more advanced of a unit, but the results are pretty slick, for Lego.
Check out the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot kit for $345 on Amazon today.
WowWee MiP toy robot
The WowWee MiP is the machine running around the house in the hand’s of my niece. Interact with MiP via gestures and touch, use a Bluetooth connected mobile device or watch as it responds to sound. There are fewer educational experiences to be had with this toy robot, but it is great fun and well featured for the price.
Check out the WowWee MiP from $35 on Amazon today.
Wonder Workshop Dash and Cue
Designed with the same purpose, but for different age groups, the Wonder Workshops Dash is for younger children, the Wonder Workshops Cue is for older children. Both are bubbly little robots with rich personalities that accept some programming for operation. Control by phone, or, as it appears, enable pre-configured autonomous operations.
Anki Overdrive race car set
I’ve raced small toy race sets before, but nothing like the Overdrive system from Anki. The wired track car of old is replaced with sensors and mobile devices for a new level of living room races. The cars all but keep themselves on the track, you get to change lanes and control the speed. Augmented reality interactive games and computer driven competition is really where it’s at.
This is a starter kit, you can then grab additional track pieces and cars to expand as you. There is a Fast and the Furious set available as well.
Check out the Anki Overdrive starter kit from $45 on Amazon today. (Company closed, purchase while you can.)
UBTech has a few robots to their name, most are educational or very functional, but none as cool as the Star Wars Stormtrooper robot. We can’t wait to see this thing in action, walking the halls looking for intruders, accepting voice commands and more.
Check out the UBTech Stormtrooper robot from $73 on Amazon today.
We had the chance to meet up with UBTech at CES 2018. We couldn’t stay long, and it was only a quick personal visit, but we did get to see the Star Wars Storm Trooper in action. So much fun.
We made it, there are hundreds of other cool robots kicking around that we’d have loved to have shared with you, but we already told you, these are the toy robots we have our eye on. This list was not to highlight the best toy robots out there, so please feel free to share your top picks in the comments below.
Thank you for sticking with us, we’ll get back to the flying drones now.