November 21, 2009

Robot Snob 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

clocky.jpgWe know that holiday shopping can be a major hassle, so we went all out to find robotic stuff to fit every budget. The good news is that almost every company has lowered their prices and when you shop online, tax and shipping charges are often non-existent. That being said, we present our 2009 Holiday Guide.

Robot Kits

elencofollow.jpgAfter building the Elenco Follow Me Robot, its 4 built-in microphones detect sounds and it will move towards them. For kids 12 and older, it needs no soldering and needs 4AA batteries (not included.) The Discovery Kids Biped EZ Robot kit has 15 pieces to assemble and a remote for those over 8.

dartharm.jpgWhy get a usual Waldo when you can get a Darth Vader Robotic Arm? The snap together kit grips and holds objects, needs no batteries and includes a stand with built-in control. With the Rockit Robot kit, you can build one that has a touch sensor that learns not to run into walls, a sound sensor for responding to your voice and instructions with more than one project.

phoenix.jpegFor serious robot builders, Trossen has some great deals. Their Phoenix Hexapod Kit is as state of the art as it can get with several walking gaits with omnidirectional translation and body rotation on all axis. The SumoBot Kit provides you with everything you need to become a competitor in the realm of Mini-Sumo tournaments.

Robot Movies

michaelrennie.jpgMovies, including Blu-ray, are completely affordable these days. We can never get enough of the original "The Day the Earth Stood Still" with Michael Rennie and Patricia Neal, even better now that it comes in a 2-disc set. Younger generations will appreciate the 2008 version that stars Keanu Reeves.

terminatorsalvation.jpgKids will also dig the effects in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Terminator fans, we haven't forgotten you. The Director's Cut of "Terminator Salvation", starring Christian Bale, will soon be out. And we never get enough of viewing "Wall-E".

roomba560.jpgOf course, no one can compete with iRobot when it comes to vacuums, and for the holidays they are offering special deals. In fact, this year we are putting one under our tree. Purchase a 400 series and get a free pet upgrade. A 500 series includes a brush pack and a 300 series Scuba will get you either cleaning solution or replenish kit. And, by the way, shipping is free with purchases over $59.00.

Collectors' Items

r2d2collector.jpgThere is no way to compete with Schylling. We recommend the Small Lilliput, the High Wheel and our fave, the Chrome Planet Robot. This R2-D2 is part of the original figures from the first Star Wars and is a limited edition with its interlocking base and electronic beeps.

Robotic Pets

whitetiger.jpgWowWee's Alive White Tiger Cub has realistic fur with sensors in his head and back to respond. He makes baby feline noises and works by remote. The company puts out a whole slew of robotic pets including their Mini Leopard Cub.

ptrex.jpgAlso furry is Playskool's Stomper's Triceratops that we recently reviewed and personally adored. Playskool also puts out Monty T-Rex who not only moves and roars, he sneezes and plays tunes.

mrsquiggles.jpgWe had to include one of this year's hottest toys. Zhu Zhu Hamsters may replace Elmo. They chirp, zip across the floor and each has their own personality. Choose between Mr. Squiggles, Pipsqueek, Num Nums and Chunk. Try to remember at some point that your kid(s) will want the Go Go Funhouse and the Adventure Ball. (Hurry up when ordering these guys as they were featured on "Nightline," so you know they are going to sell out quickly.)

The FurReal Chocolate Lab Puppy can be a fun and worry free pet. And, although he has no fur, we had to include Interactive Wall-E.

Under $50.00

The 10 1/4" Robbie the Robot Talking Alarm Clock says, "Wake Up Wake Up" as his chest moves, strobe lights go off and his antenna spins. Clocky will amuse kids or force your spouse/partner out of bed in the a.m. as he jumps from your nightstand up to 3 feet high.

The first robot designed for girls (and boys who like them,) Tekno's Sakura
tells fortunes, gives compliments and fashion tips, dances and answers "yes" and "no" questions. The macho XPV R.A.D. Robotic Air Defense flies as fast as 30 mph and up to 20 stories. It comes with rechargeable battery and includes repair kit.

buzzlgtyr.jpgNow that Toy Story has been re-released in 3D, you probably know someone who would love this electronic Buzz Lightyear. He talks, makes sound effects, his wings pop out and he can take anyone to infinity and beyond. Don't forget about Tribot, who is about half the price that he was last year.

Under $20.00

The Unofficial Lego Mindstorms NXT Inventor's Guide (Paperback) will give any robotics freak fresh ideas. If history is more to his/her liking, Robot traces back AIs from their roots.

Wind-up Gort will walk even if you forget to say "Klaatu barada nikto." The Hog Wild Robot Calculator displays up to 8 digits and will be your best friend. His arms can hold pens, pencils and included nightlight, while his magnetic back holds paper clips.

handy.jpgWe already told you about Chuck, the talking truck, and it seems that Tonka has an entire series of his pals (a couple of them a bit over $20.00.) Choose from Rowdy, the GarbageTruck, with spinning wheels, Boomer, the Fire Truck, who has lights and makes noise, and Handy, the Tow Truck, that can fetch the other three should they get lost. They may not respond like Chuck, but they are just as cute and colorful.

Under $10.00

minifemi.jpgThe 9" Mini-Femisapien runs on batteries, is posable and trots around the room. We didn't realize that Shrinky Dinks were still around until we found these robotic ones.

Nerds will love the fact that Olive Kids customized their Robot Bookmark. Remember to include a Kikkerland Cranky Desk Toy on your list for any friends who are stuck in cubicles all day.

Stocking Stuffers Under $5.00

voltwindup.jpgDover's Create Your Own Robot Sticker Activity Book would make a great stocking stuffer. Wind-up Volt is about 2" tall and can repair your other robots. The Cool Robot Note Pad measures 5 x 6" and has 50 sheets per pad.

The Mini Robopanda is only 7.5" but is tall enough to have poseable head and legs and blinking LED eyes. Wear your robot on your sleeve jacket or shirt with an Iron On C3PO.

Over $100.00

We cannot imagine any kid (or adult) wouldn't love a LEGO Mindstorm this year, especially since the NXT 2.0 was released. For the princess (or Prince) in your life, think Butterscotch the Pony that moves her head, blinks, wags her tail and responds to humans.

idsobot.jpgDino freaks will prefer the roaring, laughing and movements of the 3 ft. tall
Kota and Pleo has been newly reborn. Tomy's I-SOBOT is half the price that it was last year.

Last but not least, don't forget the batteries! This should be your year to go eneloop. We have been using them for 2 years now in various small electronics and they are still going strong.

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November 20, 2009

Must Have: WowWee Roborover


WowWee's Roborover may look a little strange but speaks up to 5 minutes of content, including letting you know that he has fallen and can't get up. He also plays driving-based games and either avoids or runs over obstacles. The 9.1 x 10.6 x 14.5" RR comes with a remote to send him where you want him to go.

Via WowWee

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November 16, 2009

Life Looks at Robot History


Take a peek at Life's collection of "trippy space-age toy art." There are 32 images of early bot posters. We have certainly come a long way in robotics, eh?

Via Life

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November 13, 2009

Must Have: RC Bump N Chuck Bumper Cars


Next time you get bored in your cubicle, pop out your Kid Galaxy RC Bump N Chuck Bumper Cars and let the RC fun commence. Hit the other driver and he ejects amid sounds of pain, we assume. The cars have working fans on the back to enhance the effect. At a size of 4 x 4 x 6", these bumper cars won an award for their originality and are recommended for those over the age of 3.

Via RC Bump N Chuck Bumper Cars

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November 12, 2009

Attack with Maxus Draganoid


Tired of Transformers? A combination of 1 Bakugan and 6 Bakugan Traps combine to make a Maxus Draganoid. The collection consists of Grakas Hound, Dark Hound, Grafias, Brachium, Spitarm, SpyderFencer and Neo Dragonoid and they can also be used in the game itself.

Via Bakugan

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November 11, 2009

Brush Robot Helps Clean Up


The folks who brought you the Robot Duck have now decided that robots can be useful as well. Toysmith's Brush Robot, at a size of 6.5 x 9.4 x 2.4", helps you clean up mini messes while ogling you with a curious stare not unlike the money you could be saving if you switched to Geico. The kit comes with wooden and paint brushes, motor, battery case with wires, eyes and miscellaneous parts.

Via Toysmith DIY

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November 10, 2009

Rubik's Cube Comes in Transformer Style


We are not sure why there is a seemingly never ending succession of Rubik's Cubes. We only know that the Transformers have been seen hanging out on one. The Transformers Allspark Rubiks Cube doesn't need a robot to solve it, but it would probably help.

Via Entertainment Earth

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November 6, 2009

Must Haves: Hasbro Newborns and Playskool Stompers


It is with large amounts of glee that we played with the two robotic pets from Hasbro and Playskool sent to us by Litzky PR .

Hasbro's FurReal Chipmunk is almost real enough to freak out our cats, who spend endless days watching squirrels from windows. The Newborn chirps and threatens vocally while wagging its tale and moving up and down. We gave it the pats on the back to get it to go through its paces and we swear that it decided to move a bit on its own although it does not claim to be voice activated. Designed for kids ages 4 years and older, it comes with its own adoption certificate and bottle.


By the way, one cat wouldn't come in the room. Obviously, the other one was clearly unimpressed, but then he is rather mellow 90% of the time. Hasbro has other Newborns, such as a Guinea Pig, Piglet and Lamb.

I really loved Playskool's Stomper Triceratops . For kids 3 and up, this little dinobot is really soft and when you pet him, he moves his head and mouth when he roars. It becomes pretty obvious why they named him a Stomper. This guy one pretty much scared away both cats at first until I quit making him perform.

Playskool has other Stompers, like their Hatchling T-Rex and Stegosaurus that are also soft to the touch. Each one comes with a discovery sheet with facts and batteries. When your kids beg you for a puppy, we suggest substituting one of the above as an alternative. No house breaking, no chewing shoes, and no pet food expense. Besides, your real pets will find them nonthreatening after a first or second encounter.

(Thanks, Jessica!)

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November 5, 2009

Robots Go Plushy


This is a robot you really have to (g)love, the Manhattan Toy Robotos Pink Hand Puppet. Wear it to communicate with your fave toddler, let them play with it to find an alternative to eating their vegetables or simply give it as a gift for those who want to sing along with Craig Fergusen.


The company has other plushy robots as well, such as Beep Bops Twir , Tron and Robo.

Via Manhattan Toys

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November 4, 2009

Pleo Resurrection Continues


Robert Oschler at RobotsRule recently interviewed Derek Dotson, one of Ugobe's founders, on the tragic story of Pleo's demise. The good news is that the robotic dinosaur is back this year with these improvements:

* The problem with neck wires breaking which affected some Pleos has been fixed.
* The problem of the skin separating has been fixed.
* The premature wearing of the paint from Pleo's skin and teeth has been fixed. The new paint should last 3 times longer than the old one.
* The packaging Pleo comes in no longer uses Styrofoam and is biodegradable making it friendly to the environment.
* The battery chargers have a new switch with two positions, one for regular charging and another that uses a special charging mode created specifically for those batteries that don't charge properly.

Via Robots Rule

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