It is no longer the distant daydream of the sci-fi fanatic to own an intelligent robot, in 2017 it is now a reality.
This year has seen some notable introductions to the consumer robot market – an area that remains very focused on play time or gaming companions – but also some advances to existing products.
So if you know someone who dreams of owning their own robot, one of the following could be just what they need.
The new, adorable face of artificial intelligence is Cozmo, a small wheel-based robot with an expressive LED face and fully fledged personality.
Thanks to facial recognition, Cozmo learns and recognises faces and reacts to expressions and uses a range of sensors to understand and explore his surroundings.
He can also be controlled and customised via a smartphone app.
He comes with three small cubes with which a whole range of games can be played, and is also smart enough to entertain himself, often choosing to challenge you to a game at random, based on his mood, which is affected by a built in “emotion engine” – which changes based on your interactions and if he’s kept fed on energy.
Cozmo offers a robot-human interaction experience more in-depth and natural in feeling than any other we’ve experienced, making him a robot must-have.
BB-8 may have stolen our hearts in The Force Awakens, and again when Sphero launched a smartphone controlled version of him, but now an old favourite has taken the limelight.
Lovingly recreated in impressive detail, Sphero’s R2-D2 is definitely the droid you’re looking for. The small bot comes with an integrated speaker for all R2’s signature beeps and boops, as well as what Sphero calls “authentic movement”, which includes the memorable waddles from the Star Wars films.
Just like the BB-8 version, R2 will also react to Star Wars movies when you watch them with him, and can also interact with other Sphero robots.
A must for any Star Wars fans and watch it in action in the Facebook Live below.
Menacing looking, but incredibly agile as a toy and gadget, MekaMon is a battle robot and vehicle for cool augmented reality gaming.
In single player mode, users place the MekaMon on an augmented reality mat and then battle virtual enemies on their smartphone screen while the robot darts around the floor in front of you.
Then in Battle mode, the MekaMon can challenge friends who have their own bot to live action battles, with battle strategies and special ability cards available to help players upgrade and customise their own robot.
UBTech Alpha 1 Pro
Described as a partner for entertainment and education, Alpha 1 Pro is the humanoid entry into this robot gift guide.
It’ll react to music and dance, using it’s wide range of movement to catch the eye as it does. Makers UBTech even suggest the bot as a workout partner for fitness routines and yoga.
Controllable via a smartphone app, the Alpha 1 Pro also includes coding games, which introduce basic coding skills in a simple context.
Neato Botvac D5 Connected
A change of direction, but in no way any less robotic or useful, is one of Neato’s robotic vacuum cleaners.
Controllable via the connected Neato app, users are able to start, stop and pause cleaning sessions even when they’re not in the house.
The vacuum is able to work across different floor types, and uses laser navigation to find its way around your home and the various obstacles in it.