Ozobot: A Robotic Toy for All Ages

Ozobot 1ToysBulletin.com reviews a new type of fun and educational robot designed by Evollve in California.

Ozobot is a small robot (1″L x 1″W x 1″H) but it packs an amazing amount of power and versatility into its tiny frame. We actually got our hands on the “Ozobot dual pack,” which contained two Ozobots, one colored Crystal White and the other Titanium Black. They arrived in a smart looking hard plastic clear container, which featured a pair of black and white skins, which fit nicely atop any of the Ozobots. The set also included two carrying pods and two bonus skins, one blue and one yellow. Additionally, there were two USB micro plugs for charging the Ozobots, and some Ozocards, which provided a sample track for the Ozobots to follow.

In order to get an Ozobot up and running, it must first be charged using the handy USB micro plug. Simply plug the micro end into the Ozobot and the larger end into a spare USB input on your computer. It takes about 35 minutes to fully charge an Ozobot, although both of our samples had partial charges already and were ready to go in just a few minutes. Next, and this is very important, the Ozobot must be calibrated. That can be done either on the provided Calibration Zone card, or directly on your tablet or smartphone. It only requires the push of a button on the Ozobot until a white light blinks and within 5 seconds or so, it blinks green and is fully calibrated. Now, the Ozobot is ready for some excitement.

Ozobot 2Once calibrated, the Ozobot can be placed on an Ozocard, a tablet, or on a user created playground (white sheet of paper) using either a Sharpie with a wide chisel tip or a Crayola marker. The Ozobots will follow sequences of color codes which control their movement. The colors used include red, light blue, light green and black, plus the Ozobot will flash the color used on the path it follows. In addition, the Ozobot is designed for games and challenges, including mazes and races that can also be done right on a tablet. You can design them yourself or find lots to choose from using the Ozobot app. We found the Ozobot needed recharging after approximately 60 minutes or so, and it was always important to recalibrate again. The battery life could also be extended if the Ozobot was used directly on the surface of a tablet.

Ozobot 3To maximize the fun and options available we loaded the free Ozobot app onto our tablet, which provided a great introductory video showing many views of Ozobots in action. Next, we were taken to a home screen with four choices. We clicked on the “About Ozobot” icon and we found a video on calibration as well as answers to many of our questions. There was a “Get an Ozobot” icon that took us directly to the Ozobot webpage. There was even an “Ozobot Tune Up” icon, which provided a service site where you could change mood, speed, the timer or reset your Ozobot. The fun icons were located in the middle of the screen and included OzoDraw and OzoPath. There were others coming soon too. With OzoDraw, you could create your own tracks and mazes for the Ozobot to navigate by simply using your finger, or use codes to guide the Ozobot from start to finish in the challenge mode. With OzoPath, one or two players could position tiles to create a path to the finish line.

Overall, the Ozobot was quite a positive experience. In our short time with it, we barely scratched the surface of the many possibilities. Kids will be able to learn some basic programming skills, and the games are especially exciting. Teens and adults should also be drawn to this clever robot, which will provide them hours of interactive fun.  A single Ozobot retails for $49.99 and the “Ozobot dual pack” goes for $99.99. To order or find out much more about the world of Ozobots, check out the Ozobot website.

–RJ Cullen

 

Posted in Electronics, Learning








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