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Thursday, 23 February 2017

Ozobot Review – Evo Smart & Bit Creative Toy Robots With App For Kids?

Ozobot is a lineup of smart toy robots designed to educate kids. Find out how Ozobot robots work today in our review.

What Is Ozobot?

Ozobot is a line of toy robots about the size of a golf ball. The robots follow lines that kids draw with markers on white paper (or virtual lines drawn on an iPad or tablet screen).

To change the robots’ movements or behavior, kids can use different colors, or draw patterns like zig-zagging lines. The robots work offline, but can also be controlled through the Ozobot mobile app.

The goal of the Ozobot robots is to educate kids: especially in regards to programming. The mobile app teaches kids to write programs, then send those programs to another Ozobot to control it.

Ozobot is made by a Redondo Beach, California-based startup company named Evollve Inc. That company recently secured $3 million in Series A venture funding, according to TechCrunch.

Ozobot is planning to use the money to ramp up production of the Ozobot and to develop new features while marketing to more kids in the United States.

Today, Ozobot’s flagship product, the Ozobot 2.0 Bit, is available at a price of around $50 to $60 (or $100 for the complete starter kit). You can find it on Amazon or online at the official company store.

Ozobot Products

Ozobot currently has two core robots on the market, including Evo and Bit. The company has also created a Marvel Avengers robot, although it’s essentially just an Ozobot Bit with an Aveners skin. Here’s a brief overview of all members of the Ozobot family:

Evo

Evo, short for Evolve, claims to be the only connected smart robot of its kind. Like other Ozobot products, Evo is about the size of a golf ball. It rolls around on tiny wheels.

The robot works immediately out of the box and comes complete with autonomous LED lights, sounds, and movements. To avoid objects, Evo uses Infrared Proximity Sensing. Like other Ozobot robots, you can also control Evo using the app.

After downloading the app, you can connect with friends to use the OzoChat worldwide messaging system, which lets you send and receive “Ozojis”, described as “special messages of joy, sadness, surprise and other emotions”. Your Evo will act out these emotions.

As you continue to use Evo, you earn achievements to unlock new experiences in the Ozobot Evo app – including new games, new bot battles, and new character or content downloads.

Evo is priced at $99. You can purchase it in Titanium Black or Crystal White colors.

Bit

Evo is designed primarily for children, while Bit is designed for more experienced techies (although it’s still marketed to kids under 10 years old).

As the official Bit sales page explains, “Whether you are a seasoned engineer or a child, Ozobot Bit can be as fun or challenging as you make it”.

The device, unlike Evo, is highly programmable and customizable. Instead of being controlled through the app or following an obstacle course, Bit can be programmed to run a specific route.

Some of the key features in Bit include an optical sensor board, color sensor, friction drivetrain, twin micro-motors, Li-Po battery, a main circuit board, a micro-controller, and a polycarbonate shell.

At the most basic level, you can use Bit to follow colored lines you’ve drawn on a piece of paper. As you continue to train Bit, you can progress from Novice to Master.

The Ozobot Bit is priced at $99 for the starter pack. Like Evo, it’s available in Crystal White or Titanium Black. It’s also marketed as the Ozobot 2.0 Bit (which is how it’s labeled on Amazon).

Ozobot Accessories

Ozobot’s accessories primarily consist of the Ozobot Color Markers and a construction set.

Ozobot Color Makers ($6)

The Ozobot Color Markers are a set of four color-coded markers (red, blue, green, and black) you can use to control Ozobot’s movements. You use the markers on a plain piece of white paper, then watch the bot track the colors as it moves around.

The pack of four markers is priced at $6. The markers are washable.

Construction Accessory Kit ($12)

The other Ozobot accessory available is the Construction Accessory Kit, which comes with construction extensions, blocks, sticker sheets, and more you can use to create a virtual construction area. The kit is priced at $12.

Ozobot Reviews

Ozobot 2.0 Bit is currently sold on Amazon, where it has an average rating of 4.2 stars out of 5 with a total of 150 customer reviews. That’s a fairly good rating.

The Ozobot 2.0 Bit is priced at $54.99 from Amazon with free shipping, which is the same price you see from the official website.

Some of the pros and cons reviewers mentioned for the Bit include:

Pros

  • Hardware is very nicely designed in appearance
  • Great for teaching children under 10 the basics of programming
  • Well-designed app
  • Works well when you draw lines on the iPad, provided your brightness is turned all the way up
  • Some schools have them, so parents are also buying them for their kids to use at-home
  • Ideal for encouraging your kids to become engineers, programmers, or just people who are curious about gadgets
  • Great for starting mini contests, racing them, and playing other games

Cons

  • Software has room for improvement
  • Needs to be calibrated frequently, and doesn’t follow color lines as well as advertised (one reviewer reported that it needed to be calibrated every 5 minutes of play)

Ozobot Summary

Ozobot robots are unique programmable robots that can be used to teach kids the basics of programming and engineering. Even if your child isn’t interested in applied sciences, the toys are fun to play with.

Kids can make the robots follow lines on pieces of paper, or draw lines on an iPad that the robots can follow. You can race multiple robots against one another or send “Ozojis” between robots.

Some reviewers claim the Ozobot 2.0 Bit doesn’t work quite as well as advertised when it comes to tracking lines or following colors on a white piece of paper.

However, most reviewers agree that Ozobot robots are powerful educational toys that can make people interested in the world of programming, robotics, and engineering.


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