Here at DadGeek we’re big fans of toys and even bigger fans of robots! From the experimental hilarity of Simone Giertz to the creepy reality of Boston Dynamics‘ athletic bipeds, all robots really get our robo-brains ticking!
There seems to be a huge upsurge in consumer robotics. The technology for basic home automation and digital lifestyle is becoming both affordable and accessible. Services like Alexa and Cortana provide a friendly face (or at the very least a friendly voice) to help make things easier around the home, on the road and when you’re out and about. Services and applications we once thought novel on our phones are spreading out into other integrated devices such as our televisions and cars.
That fervour for robotics is now beginning to spread out into ‘interactive toys’ and children today are learning to grow up with some form of ‘tech toy’ or another. If you look at some of the most popular toys of the last year they are often robotic in some form or another. The Zoomer Pony was a fascinating robotic leap into the realm of robotic creatures and has been followed up this year by the magical Zoomer Enchanted Unicorn. The adorable Luvabella was an uncanny toy that tiptoed across the border between interactive doll and robotic child.
We’ve previously reviewed Cubetto, a simple robot that provides a friendly non-screen introduction to computational thinking for young children. We even kept him around and got him drawing us pictures!
This year sees the release of even more robotic toys and we managed to get our hands on some of them to bring you as part of our Robot Season!
The first little guy we took a look at was Boxer, a cute little cuboid robot from Spin Master with a manic personality and a range of games and activities to play with you. He’s also got an expressive set of LED peepers and a cute little chirrup that gives him a real warmth and charm.
Interacting with Boxer can be done in a number of ways. You can pick him up, stroke him, turn him upside down and let him run around and experience the environment for himself. He reacts to the world around him, often with an adorable curiosity. If Boxer finds something he doesn’t understand he utters a tiny “Uh-oh!”
If you prefer a more direct method of control, Boxer also comes with a controller. This is great for getting him to go where you want but it does tend to undermine the illusion of autonomy that he’s really good at showing off. Neverthless, it’s often useful for getting him out of trouble when he’s spiralled off on his own behind the sofa.
Boxer also comes with a set of ‘control cards’. These are coded to be understood by Boxer as he rolls over them and put him into one of his many activity modes where he can play music, pretend to be a tank or kick his little football around. We found these were a bit tricky to get Boxer to read but with perseverance we got him to sit still long enough to have a go.
Luckily, Boxer also comes with a companion app (we used the Android version) that enables all the same modes and activities as the control cards. Connectivity is great and we were able to switch up between activities at a moment’s notice.
Overall, Boxer is a great little gizmo and our children had hours of fun with him. For some reason Claudia insisted on calling him “Jeebo”. Morgan loved trying to control him using the controller and all the children were cackling at watching him zoom about.
At about £69.99, Boxer is one of the cheaper options when it comes to the new wave of tiny robots currently available. As such, it’s a greater starter gadget for kids who are intrigued by having a little robot buddy.
Boxer is available from The Entertainer.
Disclaimer: This review was done in return for the product. No financial agreements were entered into. All opinions remain our own. This page contains affiliate links.