The Christmas season is upon us, and it's time to whip up your gift lists. Why not put a little robot love on there? Here's some great suggestions for robotic gifts. We've featured 10 great products
that will make excellent gift ideas for your robot loving friend or relative.
LEGO Mindstorms NXT
I wonder if LEGO fully understood what they were getting into when they first released their "Robotics Invention System", or "RIS" in 1998? Now, two revisions later we have the LEGO Mindstorms NXT system, which is about as perfect of a product as you can imagine. Involving a tight-knit team of LEGO and robotics enthusiasts, LEGO developed NXT from the ground up and surprised the public with their new system in 2006. The NXT system supports over 40 different programming languages
, and supports a wide range of additional sensors created by 3rd parties. The kit comes with 3 motors (with feedback), 4 different sensors, and 571 pieces. You can check out some of the fabulous NXT creations over at The NXT Step Blog.
Mindstorms NXT retails for $250 USD.
Buy LEGO Mindstorms NXT from RobotShop
Wall-E RC Toy and DVD
Pixar is known for creating beautiful, heartwarming, and sophisticated animated films that appeal to both children and adults. Their latest masterpiece is the story of Wall-E, a trash robot stranded and alone on Earth.
One of the more interesting product tie-ins
is the U Command Wall-E
"interactive robot" which uses an IR remote for control and can be programming with hundreds of different actions and combinations. This may be ripe for hardware hacking and is extremely cute, to boot.
Of course, if you're looking for something a little less costly, the 3 disk Special Edition of Wall-E on DVD
would make an excellent gift for your robot loving friends.
Buy U Command Wall-E from Amazon.com
Buy 3 Disk Special Edition Wall-E from Amazon.com
Roomba from iRobot
Roomba, the ever faithful floor vacuuming friend from iRobot is as great as ever! First released in 2002, this robovac has gone through several design revisions and has sold over 2.5 million units world wide. iRobot has been very good about answering customer complains about the product and their latest versions are amazing. Our friend at Robot Stock News keep an updated Roomba Buyers Guide
listing all sorts of great deals. You'll want to spend some time at iRobot's Roomba page to decide which version is right for you, but regardless of which one you purchase, you won't be disappointed.
Amazon.com also has a iRobot store
with lists all the products, including the Dirt Dog robot
which is great for cleaning up dirty shop floors. The Roomba 560 is an excellent middle-of-the-road option for your robotic cleaning needs.
The iRobot Looj also makes a good sub-$100 present
for friends with dirty gutters.
Tribot from WowWee Toys
The Tribot, "Personal Companion"
, is a newly released toy from WowWee, the creators of the hugely popular Robosapien robot. Tribot's unique design allows it to move in all directions without having to turn. He has several built-in games and jokes and is controlled via a remote. He makes a good sub-$100 robotic gift for kids and adults.
Buy Tribot from Amazon.com
Bioloid by Robotis
The Bioloid Robotics System
from Korean company, Robotis, is a modular robotics kit that allows builders to create a wide variety of sophisticated robotic creations. The kits come with a variety of powerful motors, or Dynamixels, and composite frame pieces. The kits can be used to build walking robots, multi-legged walking machines, and wheeled vehicles. Behavior software is used to create programs and precisely control the position of each motor. One the program is completed, it can be downloaded to the robot.
The various Bioloid kits come in a wide variety of prices, ranging from $299 to $2,999.
Buy Bioloid from RobotShop
Sumo Robot Kit from Parallax
Competition is a sure-fire way to make any potentially boring subject super exciting for kids (and adults). That's why the Sumo Robot kit
from Parallax makes an excellent starting point for getting into hobby robotics. Buy purchasing a competition kit
, which comes with two robot kits, and a sumo arena, you can stage your own sumo battles between two robots. These kits form an excellent mechanical starting point for developing your own killer sumo robot code.
But the Sumo Robot Competition Kit from RobotShop
Pleo the Dinosaur Robot from Ugobe
We've blogged about Pleo
, one of the most sophisticated toy robots ever, quite a bit
. There's no doubt that Pleo is an amazing toy which learns and grows as you play with him, and thanks to the holiday shopping season, you can find some great deals on prices. Pleo has charmed his way into many a child's heart. He also has a way with the ladies. There's no shortage of pictures of Pleo on photo sharing sites like Flickr
, and Pleo owners seem to delight in dressing him up. You can even find Pleo clothes on eBay!
Buy Pleo from Amazon.com
Spykee The Spy Robot from Erector
Spykee is not your parents erector set. Gone are the metal peices and difficult nuts and bolts, instead you have a WiFi equipped telepresence robot. Spykee functions as a video surveillance device, digital music player, and can be used as a VoIP phone and web cam. Spykee also has a community website you might want to check out before purchasing.
Buy Spykee from Amazon.com
Robobuilder Robotics Kit
Similar to Bioloid, Robobuilder
is a modular robotics kit that allows you to create walking biped robots and multilegged creations. Robobuilder has a very simple joint assembly which lets you spend more time playing and less time messing with trying to get the parts connected. Another interesting feature is that each motor, or actuator, has I/O lines on it to allow you to hook up 2 digital devices and 1 analog device for added sensing and actuation. Robobuilder kits come in a variety of prices ranging from $680 USD to $1,560 USD.
Buy Robobuilder Robotics Kit from RobotShop
Vex Robotics Kit
Originally sold exclusively by Radio Shack, the VEX Robotics system was reacquired by the parent company to much success. Used by over 140,000 students worldwide, many of them in the FIRST Tech Challenge. The kits come with a variety of building pieces, an RC controller, a "brain", and various motors and sensors. There are a large variety of low-priced expansion kits
that allow you to constantly built up your stash of Vex parts. A great way to get started with VEX would be to purchase the VEXplorer Modular Robotics System
Buy a VEX Robotics Kit from RobotShop