Last Fall, Toys Bulletin reviewed the award winning Ozobot 1.0, a new type of robot (see our review from 21 November 2014). Now, Evollve Inc. has released version 2.0, and it includes a very exciting upgrade. First of all, “Ozobot Bit 2.0” does everything that the original Ozobot did, including the ability to follow a set of Ozocodes, which are color coded commands that control the Ozobot’s speed, direction, and all of its movements. The Ozocodes can easily be drawn using colored markers, or by using Ozocards that are already coded. There are also a pair of apps available that allow the Ozobot to perform moves right on your tablet. The Ozogroove app is especially entertaining, since the Ozobot can be programmed to make some serious dance moves.
The Ozobot is very tiny in size, measuring approximately 1″ high, 1″ deep and 1″ in width. It has a clear dome on the top allowing you to take notice of the detailed circuitry inside. The Ozobot sensors are located on the bottom of the unit and that is where the Ozocodes are identified and distinguished. There is a on/off button on the outside, which when turned on, allows the Ozobot to flash alternating colors. Before using any Ozobot, its LiPo battery must first be charged using an included micro-USB cable, and then calibrated, especially when changing surfaces. The calibration is done in seconds by placing the Ozobot, while flashing a white light, onto an included calibration card. Then the Ozobot is ready to perform.
But, what is the difference between the original Ozobot 1.0 and “Ozobot Bit 2.0?” Well, the Ozobot programming has been stepped up considerably. You can now use Blockly, a visual programming language, by going to the Ozoblockly website (we believe an Ozoblockly app will be coming soon). At the website, click on the “Get Started” tab and you will be asked to select from several skill levels. Next, by clicking and dragging blocks, then linking them together, you can create a program with movement, light effects, timing and loops. There are easy examples to follow and a reference screen to help explain the many choices. The all-important Ozobot calibration is done right on the screen, and loading the program or any of the examples to the Ozobot is done in much the same way. A simple double click of the on/off button gets things started and you can watch the Ozobot perform his programmed moves on most any flat surface.
The new “Ozobot Bit 2.0” is obviously a tremendous learning aid, but it is also so much fun to play with as well. Kids, ages 8 years old and up, will really enjoy having their own robots to program and because of their size, Ozobots can be transported anywhere with ease. The retail price of a single “Ozobot Bit 2.0” is $59.95, including a custom skin, small plastic carrying case and one micro-USB cord. For $114.99, there is a dual-pack available with two “Ozobot Bit 2.0” robots, four custom skins, two of the carrying cases and two micro-USB cords. For more details, including videos of the “Ozobot Bit 2.0” in action, and purchase information, go to the Ozobot website.