Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Robot Pets for Kids - What's New in 2016

Robot pets and toys for children are really popular at Christmas and there are some fantastic new products for 2016.

There are several new robot dogs this year. Robot dogs are a particular interest of my younger son who is working on Roby, his own Robot dog. But there are also some more exotic robot pets including a chimp, a toucan, a dragon and a dinosaur.

At Tech Age Kids we focus on helping kids to create with technology, not just use it. But, there's definitely a place for cool tech toys. These state of the art toys are getting robotics in front of kids in a very tangible way. They can be used as conversation starters about how the technology works and whether robot pets will be able to replace real pets in the future. There are some really innovative features in this year's selection. Yeah, and they're fun too :-)

We'll be updating this post as we learn more about these robot pets and they become available to buy.

    WowWee CHiP

    Age: 6+

    WowWee CHiP looks set to be one of the most popular robot pets this year. WowWee have packed this robot dog with the latest technology.

    WowWee's focus for CHiP is making a smarter pet with lots of personality. A step closer to an actual pet.

    CHiP also has an optional 'Smart Band' wearable for additional interaction and following capability.

    Spinmaster Zoomer Chimp

    Spinmaster's Zoomer Chimp is packed with character and neat technology. 
    The Zoomer Chimp has a moving mouth which gives it a really expressive face. There's a lot of focus on personality and entertainment value here. (For kids who want to learn about programming this kind of behaviour, try the OhBot Robot.)

    Zoomer is able to stand up from a lying position and balance on two wheeled feet. This is pretty neat. 

    FurReal Friends Torch My Blazin' Dragon

    Age: 4+

    FurReal Friends (from Hasbro) have added a cute new animatronic tech pet for this year. Torch, My Blazin' Dragon is a robot dragon that can breath 'fire' (created with distilled water) and toast marshmallows (with a colour change effect.) This is a neat use of technology to make a robot pet more realistic.

    Hasbro Furby Connect

    Age: 6+

    Hasbro have updated Furby for 2016. The new Furby Connect is a much more connected toy than the previous version. It connects to an app via Bluetooth and can receive updated content including knowing about the latest kid-friendly music.

    This time Furby has bigger ears and colourful LCD eyes, plus a little light up antennae on the top of it's head. Furby Connect is available to pre-order (from Amazon in Pink or Teal) for delivery from July 12th.

    Parents will rejoice that the new Furby comes with a sleep mask that puts it into sleep mode. Furby Connect is still battery operated rather than rechargeable.

    Spin Master Meccano Meccasaur

    Age: 8+

    After the success of last year's Meccanoid range, Spin Master have introduced a new Meccasaur buildable robot.

    The Meccanoid could be rebuilt into a dinosaur, but the Meccasaur has parts and colours specifically designed to build a walking dinosaur. It also has dinosaur-specific behaviours (well a pet dinosaur designed to appeal to 10 year olds!)

    The Meccasaur is actually built from plastic Meccano parts so kids get to build the robot and understand more about how it works as well as getting a pet robot dinosaur to play with.


    Hatchimals are are cute new tech toy from Spin Master. They arrive as an interactive egg toy that kids have to take care of. Once their egg is ready a mystery creature will hatch from the egg.

    Teksta Voice Recognition Puppy 

    The popular Teksta puppy from Character Options (Tekno in the US) has had another upgrade with voice recognition technology.

    The Teksta Voice Recognition G5 is available in the UK.

    Teksta Toucan

    There's also the new Teksta Toucan with voice recognition. The Toucan comes with an app which supports interaction and game play. The focus here is on fun and entertainment.  The Teksta Toucan show what can be done to create an artificial personality, albeit in wise-cracking Toucan form. 

    VTech Kididoggy

    Age: 4+ 

    For younger children, VTech have introduced the Kididoggy, which has a bone-shaped remote control as well as voice control. 

    Kididoggy can be hypnotised and turned into different characters and animals. It also has an LCD screen which can be used to express emotions and personality.

    Kididoggy is available to pre-order from Amazon UK.

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