As 2009 comes to a close it's time once again for the Robot Christmas Gift List! We're featuring a few of the same, but mostly new, things since the 2008 Robot Christmas Gift Guide
. We'll be featuring 10 items that would make great gifts for the robot lover in your life. Prices range from $10 to $900 dollars, so everyone's budget should be covered!
Parallax Scribbler - $99
The Scribbler robot from Parallax
has been around for a few years but makes an excellent starting point for jumping into robotics. The solid design and lots of ability for expansion make it a good choice for someone that has basic computer skills or someone that has limited electronics knowledge and wants an easy way to get started. The robot features a basic stamp brain, several sensors - like light, floor sensors, and stall sensors - and has two hefty motors, along with a speaker and LEDs. The robot comes with several demo modes, or can be programmed using the regular Basic Stamp programming software.
Roboni-i Game Robot - $189
Roboni is a neat robotic game that uses wirelessly controlled robots. The robots can be used individually or in combination for cooperative gameplay. Roboni's clever design also makes it tempting for the hacker in me. The Roboni has 12 IR sesors that it uses to track the other Robonis in the playing field, the basestation, and various obstacles. The robot exhibites complex behavior and actually "plays" with you. It's a relatively new toy, so take that as you will.
LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 - $271
When LEGO released NXT in 2006 they were coming off nearly 10 years of huge success with the RIS. Many people wondered if they could repeat the trend. It looks like they did, with tons of NXT related books being released, and lots of use in education settings. LEGO has updated the NXT and released the 2.0 version, which once again raises the bar. The NXT 2.0 set features a new color sensor, which can detect 6 different colors, or be used as a RGB light emitter. LEGO also dropped the sound sensor in favor of adding a 2nd touch sensor. There is also a different selection of beams and gears and a greatly improved programming interface. The NXT Step Blog has a comparison chart of new pieces
Pololu 3Pi Robot - $119
Similar in price and usability to the Scribbler robot, the 3Pi from Pololu has meet with favorable reviews
. The 3pi has two high power (and high speed!) DC motors, a LCD screen, and has built in sensors for line-following. The robot uses an Atmel Atmega168 chip and can be programmed in C or using the Arduino firmware and programming language.
Phoenix Hexapod Kit - starting at $969
This exceedingly impressive kit from Lynxmotion will knock your socks off! The powerful inverse kinematics
engine allows for a huge array of natural walking gaits and very "creepy" looking motion. Each leg has three DOFs (degrees of freedom) and the completed kit is wirelessly controlled via a transmitter. The parts are laser cut aluminum with black anodization. So, if you've got some spare change lying around, this is one slick robot to purchase. Nothing says, "I love you" like a beautifully walking hexapod robot!
Terminator Salvation DVD - $9
The continuation of the Terminator saga. Reviews were mixed, but there was some definite epic robot action. Totally worth $10.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen DVD - $21
Yet another continuation. Again, epic robot battles and mixed reviews. Certainly a "fun" movie. Check your brain at the door (or couch) though.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - The Complete Second Season - $37
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (TSCC
) was quite possibly the best Sci-Fi show of the past several years. Take Battlestar Galactica
off the table and you have to go back to Firefly to find something comperable. Even wtih Fox (wantonly, stupidly, foolishly, idiotically, ... ) canceling the show after the 2nd season, the two seasons of the show are still well worth watching
and are both intellectually stimulating, fun, and heartwrenching. The first season is available new for $17
SolarSpeeder Kit - $27
The SolarSpeeder is a great beginner kit to demonstrate the power of solar energy. The kit requires some basic hand tools and a soldering iron, so it's best for kids over 12.
Pleo Dinosaur - $200
Pleo is back from the ashes of bankruptcy and ready to rumble. With a new update to fix many of the original Pleo's problems, this Pleo is still his same loveable self - just with a new company backing him. This robodino has a complex personality, can move around, use his built in camea to recognize objects, and has directional hearing. Pleo has instant repor with children and the elderly, and would make an oustanding companion for the diabled - or robot hackers.
Have anything to add to this list? Add it to the comments! What was your favorite robot gift from 2008?