Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Most robots are available as building kits or preassembled.
- Robot kits are a little too expensive for child’s play, not to mention dangerous once you start soldering.
- If you buy a kit, you’ll learn a lot about how to assemble and program a robot.
Now, onto the kits.
- Robot Olympics
- BugBrain 3.0.2, aka BugBrain with BasicX microprocessor kit ($169)
Construct a PC-programmable insect that walks, chirps, and interacts with its environment.
- Extreme Hexapod 2 Walking Robot ($375)
Extreme Hexapod 2 Combo Kit for RC ($468.68)
Create a six-legged creature you control like an RC car. It moves front and back, left and right. Just remember to print the assembly instructions while you’re online. You won’t find printed instructions with your kit.
- Cybug Scarab Artificial Lifeform Kit ($49.95)
This robotic scarab uses touch and light sensors to move around. The price looks right, but you may be tempted to buy certain add-ons, such as a $59.95 sunflower-shaped feeding station where your creature can recharge, to enhance the experience. Also, brush up on your soldering skills before it arrives.
- OctoBot Survivor Robot Kit ($189.95)
If you like soldering and painting, step up to this shell-shocked bot. Paint the preprogrammed pod, plug in its recharge station, and watch it go. When your new little friend gets tired and hungry (i.e. when it starts running low on juice), it’ll seek out its feeding station and recharge.
- Trekker Sumo and Line Following Robot ($269)
This little guy definitely doesn’t reach sumo proportions. However, it does stay within the bounds of its black wrestling ring unless it’s pushed out. Sensors watch the ground to detect the difference between the black of the ring and the white of the ring perimeter. You can also train it to follow a certain color and walk a line.