AI News, 2015 Robot Gift Guide

2015 Robot Gift Guide

With the holidays just around the corner, now is a good time to step back and reflect on the things that really matter: family, friends, what robots you’d like to get this year.

We tested many of these bots ourselves, and we plan to post in-depth reviews sometime soon.And while we provide links to places where you can buy these items, we’re not endorsing any in particular, and a little bit of searching may result in better deals (all prices are in U.S. dollars).

The built-in stabilization makes the drone incredibly easy to fly, and we’ve dropped ours from 10 meters up onto the street (oops) and it was somehow completely fine.

It’s not going to give you professional video or anything, but it’s a lot of fun to play with, and cheap enough that you don’t have to be so scared of crashing it that you never do anything cool with it.

The Phantom 2 is going to be more complicated to fly than an AR Drone, but it includes lots of useful features, including the ability to autonomously navigate back to you if you lose it.

If you want to get started in robotics by building a cool little robot that doesn’t require soldering parts or programming a microcontroller, the Robotis Mini is a great choice.

The plastic parts and the 16 actuators are really well made, and the instructions offer clear, step-by-step directions, although if you have kids you might want to enlist them (and their littlehands) to help you with the tiny rivets.

This kit includes a bunch of colored plastic parts, which attach to each other with rivets,and one module with amotor that can be used to power wheels and legs (two AA batteries required).

These are very simple robots (if you can even call them “robots”), but our experience is that kids don’t care: they’ll enjoy playing with their new mechanical friends.

There are instructions to make a handful of programmable and interactive robots with the provided parts, but as always, the best part about Lego is the fact that you can do whatever you want, and mix in pieces from other sets, too.

Turtlebot is easy enough to use that you can get started on it right away (thanks to some excellent online tutorials for beginners), but since it runs the full version of ROS, itcan be a serious research and experimentation platform at the same time.

We don’t know about you, but after mowing the lawn week after week during the hot days of summer, we decided this is a task best left to robots.

For a relatively small yard(up to 600 square meters, or 6,500 square feet), Robomow offers the RC306, a compact mower that can operate based on a schedule and dock itself on a base station to charge.

iRobot’s latest version of its vacuum robot includes several new technologies that are worth getting excited about: besides more suckage on carpet and a dedicated app, the Roomba 980 uses a camera (and vSLAM)to map out your pad and then vacuum intelligently, in straight lines.

While it’s true that the Roomba 980 has some cool mapping technology and other improvements, we’ve had excellent experiences with Roombas for years and years, and now is an excellent time to pick up an older model Roomba for cheap.

The Roomba 560 is a totally solid robot vacuum that includes an autonomous charging home base, a scheduling feature, and a couple virtual walls.

The Dyson 360 Eye doesn’t have a lot of battery life, but it does have a stupendously powerful vacuum, and since it can localize itself, it has no problem recharging itself however many times it takes to clean every square centimeter of your place.

(Just make sure no one is standing below the gutters: leaves and dirt will go flying everywhere.)The machine is waterproof, so after the job is done, you can simply rinse it with a hose.

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