If you want to get kids interested in technology beyond picking up a smartphone or tablet, then they need interesting "toys" focused on tech. Mattel realizes this, and that there's a market for selling tech toys to parents, so the toy manufacturer teamed up with a robot company to launch a line called Kamigami Robots.
As TechCrunch reports, Kamigami is not Mattel's idea. The robot kits started life as a product coming out of U.C. Berkeley's Biomimetric Millisystems Lab, which got spun off into a company called Dash Robotics. The robots were used by the founders when giving presentations at schools and events and kids flocked to see them.
Inevitably parents asked where to buy them, which resulted in Dash selling its own kit for $65. Now, through a collaboration with Mattel, the robots can go mass market at the cheaper price of $50.
Each six-legged robot comes as a flat sheet kit consisting of around 35 parts. A child can assemble the robot in about an hour and then use a free app on an iOS or Android device to create unique movements, lighting, and sound effects. The play aspect involves getting your robot to dance, run, play tag, or most importantly when friends are present: battle other Kamigami robots!
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The ability to create behaviors for each robot comes from the inclusion of a three-axis accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope, infrared transmitter, two infrared sensors, and tri-color LEDs. Considering the tech inside and the extended enjoyment these robots can offer, $50 seems like a great price point that's sure to see many Kamigami boxes wrapped and put under the tree this Christmas.
If you're interested in picking up a Kamigami Robot, they went on sale in Target today with Vypod and Scorpion models being the first two available. There will be eight in total according to the video above.