Thursday, 9 January 2014

WowWee MiP The New Balancing Robot for Kids

WowWee have announced a new robot toy for 2014. He's called MiP which stands for Mobile Inverted Pendulum which gives us a hint at some of the tech in this fella.

Robots have become a standard category of toy with companies needing to offer something new each year to stand out from past robotic toys.

MiP has lots of features but his main new trick is balancing on two wheels.  He can also carry objects and adjust his balance to cope. And he can also manage to balance while boxing another MiP robot (well until he gets knicked over!) It's neat to see this technology making it into a toy. This is the result of a collaboration with UCSD Coordinated Robotics Lab at UC San Diego.

You can control MiP with hand gestures - we saw this concept in some tech toys last year - which kids will enjoy. And he can also be controlled from an app via Bluetooth. MiP shows his personality through light up LED eyes as well as sound and motion.

The arms can be manually positioned - the focus here is clearly on the balancing capability.

To add to the play value MiP can play a number of games. If you've got a pair of these robots then they can have a battle with kids controlling them from a Boxing app - the robots bash into each other and try and knock each other over. There's also a balancing game where kids try and stack objects on MiPs balancing tray. Kids can also drive or race MiP or get him to follow a path they draw on a mobile device. And like any self-respecting robot MiP can dance too.

MiP will be available from Best Buy for $99 from May 2014 and is also available to pre-order (for $119 at time of writing) from WowWee. The MiP is recommended for kids froTwo color-ways are mentioned:  white with black trim and black with silver trim.

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