Ozobot

Roaming the corridors of CES, you have to be prepared to come across stuff that is completely amazing, although more often, it’s somewhat silly. What I wasn’t expecting was to come across a product that is not only innovative, remarkable and useful but also totally adorable. I admit. It was the cuteness factor of this robot that first attracted the attention of the kid in me, and it drove me to learn more.

Ozobot is a unique product that stands at the intersection of robotics, education and gaming. Designed as a product for all age groups above 14 years, it is even used by kids under proper supervision. I understand the appeal of this product and how attractive it must be for kids. The way it got my attention, kids must be loving it.

What Makes Ozobot Tick?

Given the attractiveness of the robot, I looked into what makes this little fellow tick. I believe the brilliant design decisions by the parent company, Evollve Inc., make Ozobot as awesome as it is. The five factors mentioned in the image below (not counting the battery one, obviously) define the characteristics of the robot that make it so much fun.

ozobot-characteristics

Visual Feedback is stimulation for the users and engages attention. The Intelligent Gameplay and Autonomous Cruising add the self-reliant factor to this robot, making it a passive source of fun for users.

Different speeds bring variety to the use, while the ability to take Independent Decisions, implemented as random logic algorithms, bring in the unpredictability factor. This also makes the use of the robot dynamic and allows for on the fly gaming scenarios.

We met with the Evollve Team at CES Unveiled and got a first-hand demonstration and pitch about the product.

There are several how-to videos on their site to let the users know what all they can do with Ozobot. To get a short preview of its capabilities, check out the video below.

Ozobot has grabbed the attention of kids, geeks and educators since it launched last year. At CES 2015, they are all set to receive the Kids At Play Interactive (KAPI) award for the best robot. Well deserved, I must say.

What’s Next for Ozobot

There are a couple of new Ozobots coming out later in 2015 – Ozobot Bit and Ozobot Jot. They are priced at $49.99 and $79.99 respectively. As per the press release, here is what you need to know about the new bots –

This 1” robot can sense colored lines, detect patterns such as intersections, read flashing light codes and play back up to 500 commands. It’s mostly based on the hardware design of the original Ozobot but Bit is programmable via both color-based code language and a block-based programming editor based on Google’s Blockly library. It can move at speeds up to 3.5 inches/sec (8.5 cm/sec) and it operates on physical surfaces such as paper and game boards and digital screens such as tablets and mobile phones.

As the new bots build upon the characteristic of the fantastic current-generation Ozobot, I am sure that they would live up to the heightened expectations from the Ozobot product series. Anyways, the release date is not too far off. We’ll know soon!