What with the holidays coming up faster than a reindeer being chased by a menorah, we've got a couple fun little robot gifts that are so cheap you might as well just buy them for yourself.
iRobot is releasing a new iOS app, and let me just say that no, it's not a way for you to remotely interact with your Roomba (sad). Instead, it's a game where you drive a Roomba around picking up dirt, avoiding evil dust bunnies, and tolerating the molestations of curious cats and overly affectionate humans:
Does this game hint that the next generation of Roombas will actually come with giant pointy teeth and be able to devour small animals as well as vacuum your floors? Our professional opinion: maybe.
It's definitely a fun little game (we tried it out ourselves), but the real reason we're writing about it is that iRobot has pledged to give a portion of the proceeds from Roomba Revenge to SPARK, their robot-focused STEM (science technology engineering math) educational program. Fun game, cheap price, good cause, what's not to like? [ Roomba Revenge ]
The other fun thing we have for you is My Robot Nation, a website where you can design your own 3D robot figurines. I know, "design" sounds intimidating, but they've got a slick website that lets you simply point and click to combine different parts and modules in 3D, and assign them colors, patterns, accessories, and even adjust the final pose to make your bot look as menacing as possible. When you're done, a 3D printer will turn your little friend into a real live (well, I guess a real inert) robot figure that will be mailed to you.
Prices for the robot figures vary based on size; a 3-inch model costs $25, a 5-inch is $100, while the mammoth six-inch robot will set you back nearly $170. And yes, you can also give a printing as a gift, which allows that special roboticist (or blogger) in your life to design their very own figure. [ My Robot Nation ]