Highlights of CES 2014 - Ozobot

Carrying on with the CES 2014 theme, another trend that is slowly growing is consumer robotics. Robots are slowly making their way into households around the world, don’t believe me? Next time you go to your local JB-HiFi or Harvey Norman check to see how many of those robotic vacuum cleaners there are. But don’t worry, Skynet is still a long way off, Google still needs to buy a few more robotics companies.

Robots cleaning your floor, while useful, aren’t too exciting. Those who know me well know that I am a huge fan of getting robots into the hands of kids. Kids are our future, robots are our future and we should at least prepare them for the robot apocalypse. Jokes aside, it’s a very important thing for me and there is one robot being shown at CES 2014 that has caught my attention.

Ozobot is a tiny little robot designed to interact with both physical and ‘digital’ environments. Ozobot is around the size of a fifty cent coin and is packed full of features. Ozobot can recognize lines, shapes, patterns and colours, all of which control the robot’s behaviour. Not only can the bot follow a line, it can react to the colour of the line, work out the colour patterns in that line and change speed/direction based on all those factors.

Ok, it isn’t too ground breaking in terms of hardware, but, the functionality that is does provide, used in the right way can create a very interesting experience. You can use the colour of the line to ‘program’ your robot. A child could just use their coloured markers, draw some lines on a piece of paper and by changing colours they could get the robot to do different things. This in essence is programming.

The creators of Ozobot have also created a few apps that utilize your mobile device as a virtual play surface. A list of which can be found on their website.

Ozobot isn’t in production yet but is set to have a Kickstarter campaign later this month. I personally can’t wait. It’s full of features, compact and would be a great educational tool.

For more information you can check out their website here.