Ozbot Evo has created one of the most fun, useful new social robots on the market. Their special robot, the Ozbot Evo, is designed to introduce kids to science, math, technology and engineering principles. Their creation is the newest entry in a new category of toy that fuses artificial intelligence and teaching. The results are dynamic and I kind of want one for myself.
The spherical Ozbot Evo is a tiny robot. How tiny? Small enough to sit on top of a Ritz cracker. It’s purpose is to engage kids in STEM issues by making STEM fun. It is controlled by a mobile app and is on sale now for just $99.95.
Ozbot did some serious legwork to make the robot a fully three-dimensional robot with its own mind. The toy has its very own language, and it uses sounds, colors and lights to make its points.
The small robot has LED lights embedded in its casing and a speak that enables the device to make noises that resemble the clicks of a bird. When you place your hand in front of the robot, it will stop immediately, thanks to proximity sensors, by flashing its lights at you just like a car. This little dynamo can pair with your smartphone to act out dances that communicate using a method that is similar to how bees talk to each other. Evo calls this “ezojis”, emoticons that trigger the various light and dance shows.
The color sensors on the bottom of the robot can follow black lines, and then are directed through color-combos that interact with the device, causing it to speed up, slow down, back-up, or turn. The Evo can avoid a lot of obstacles on its own, and the playful bot will move faster if you chase it with your hand.
Why Use Ozbot?
But what’s the purpose of all these functions? According to Evo, it is to help teachers demonstrate lessons about STEM in the classroom. Students could design their own roads with color-coding, creating instructional algorithms for the robot to follow.This isn’t as hard for kids to understand as it may seem. The robot comes with special markers allowing kids to draw their own dots and markers, and then helps them calibrate the robot.
Starting kids early on STEM instruction gives them a big boost later in life. There is a constant need for programmers in society, but not enough students get a taste of “algorithmic thinking” before the go to college. Evo hopes to change that. The company’s app lets the Evo be programmed in many different kinds of ways.
Even more exciting for kids, the USB port that connects to the toy for charging now accepts “skins,” which are addons that give the robot certain recognizable personality traits. There are traits for Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hulk and Ultron, which should please any fan of the Avengers who want to have a pocket-sized version of their heroes. By unlocking specific features and traits, children will learn even more about how the robots are actually programmed. Look for Marvel to extend its collaboration with Evo if these are as popular as they seem.