The Evollve Ozobot is a personal robot that allows users to play games with it while utilizing software that can be accessed on both mobile devices and analog surfaces. The Ozobot was developed by the California based company, Evollve, and comes with games that are limited to iOS devices for the time being. The Ozobot is very small for intimate game-play, has four unique games as a standard feature, and is readily available in the current market.
The Ozobot was designed to be small, it is only 1 inch tall, and can fit and travel around an iPhone screen. The small robot is autonomous, uses five sensors located on the under-side (the flat surface at the bottom that controls what path the robot takes), comes with a USB cable, plastic pod to place the robot in, small cards with different patterns that can be used by the robot, and the robots battery life can last up to 40 minutes of continuous use. The autonomous feature allows for the robot to move about on its own, which is essential for the gaming feature that it comes with.
The five sensors that are located at the bottom of the Ozobot allow for it to relay messages to its software base and react to the path that it meant to take. The USB cable that the Ozobot comes standard with allows for the user to charge it, it is stated in the product description that the cable is specific to the Ozobot so it is important to keep the cable on hand to ensure that the device can be charged. The plastic pod that comes with the package is also designed specifically to ensure that the device is kept in good condition and prevent damages that may occur. The cards that come in the package are one example of the analog surfaces that the Ozobot can run on. Finally, the battery only lasts 40 minutes after continuous game-play but that is to be expected with the kind of game that is played. The small size of the Ozobot provides for a surprisingly high amount of games and activities that the user can take part in.
The Ozobot works by using its interactive surface and colors to send itself messages and track where it is going. The sensors are located at the bottom of the Ozobot and they are able to work on surfaces that include the iPhone, iPad, and solid surfaces. The Ozobot tracks the lines that it is placed on and learns where it is going. The robot can recognize over 100 different patterns which allows for different experience whenever the user accesses the Ozobot. To play the game, the Ozobot recognizes the code of the track that it is on using its sensors. The Ozobot follows the path that has been created by the game which leads by lights and has been known to change direction when needed. It has also been known to react to obstacles (virtual objects); react to paths, patterns, and colors; and communicate with the user. It can alert the user that the object has hit an obstacle and it needed to change directions. The paths that the Ozobot follows was created by the game and only works with iOS supported devices, so users can only interact with Ozobot using their Apple products.
The games that can be downloaded to play with the Ozobot include: OzoDraw, OzoLuck, and OzoRace. OzoDraw allows the user to use Ozobot’s color scheme to find and read its path. OzoLuck is when the Ozobot tries to find its way through mazes and can be changed whenever the user chooses to change it; in this game the user can also change the exits and solving the mazes more challenging. Finally, OzoRace allows for multiple Ozobots to race against each other, this also allows for users to change the track when they wish to change it. The games can be utilized by a single Ozobot, however, some require a second Ozobot and multiple Ozobots can be purchased outside as multiplayer packages. Evollve is also attempting to develop the games for the Android supported devices in order to expand the reach of the technology and to cater to a larger consumer population. The current market price for an Ozobot as a standalone product is $60, which is decently affordable for the average consumer.
The Ozobot is an ingenious little robot that provides for increasingly interactive gameplay. Any line or path that the user creates makes the robot will follow and will react accordingly. For example, if the user programs that a certain color means fast or slow the Ozobot will do as it is programmed. Another thing that the Ozobot can do is be used with a racing app and can allow for multi-player games and family settings. The Ozobot also allows for families to spend time together playing the game and figure out the technology together. Families would be more willing to spend time together with a device that is interesting and that has a lot to offer. For the size and the limited software availability (again, it is only available for iOS users) the Ozobot does allow for the user to play for a long time and with others.
This kind of product could also be enjoyed by families during family game nights. Lately, it seems like the shift has gone from families doing things on their own and each member isolating them to families attempt to try and promote spending time together and building the connections from the home. This product is interesting enough that it would bring families together and have them want to figure out what the Ozobot can do and then create new paths to challenge each other and the Ozobot. It could eventually rank high on the list of family friendly games, however, the technology is still technically new and people are just discovering what they could do with their personal devices and the lengths that technology can go. The Ozobot is a small personal robot, but it is slowly closing the gap between consumer and robots for years, even generations, to come. This is why we have included the Evollve Ozobot on our list of iReviews 2014 best personal robots.