Robotics are becoming increasingly common in the entertainment industry which means that there is, subsequently, an increase in demand for tech-savvy playthings. Silverlit Toys is one company that is dedicated to offering the best technological toys on the market. Recently, the company introduced “Blu-Bot” which is the first intelligent Bluetooth robot.
Blu-Bot comes with an app that can be downloaded for free. The app works with the physical toy to give kids the opportunity to play with this interactive robot which has multiple features. Best of all, Blu-Bot is functional both with the app and without the app. According to the official website:
Use the power of your Smart Phone to control your Robot with Bluetooth Blu-Bot. Slide your finger over the screen to move him forward, backward, left and right. Speak into your smart phone and broadcast through your Blu-Bot. Record messages and playback with voice changer. Switch to dance mood for a “moon dance” with music. Add in your personalized mixing sound effects using your smart phone. Blu-Bot can also be used in stand-alone mode to program up to 50 movies without using your phone.
Blu-Bot has several interesting features. First and foremost, it comes pre-programmed with certain capabilities so it can be played with right out of the box. However, to truly tap the robot’s potential one must download the app which enables users to control where the robot moves. Blu-Bot presently comes in two colors: black and white and if you have more than one robot they can be programmed to wave at each other.
Blu-Bot must be plugged in to be charged up. The initial charge took approximately 15 minutes to complete. Blu-Bot has three basic action modes: Program, Dance and Guard. These modes are selected by pressing the “mode” button located on the robot’s back; “Program” mode is indicated with a blue light, “Dance” mode is indicated with a purple light, and “Guard” mode is indicated with a red light.
When switched on, Blu-Bot’s default mode is Program where it makes sounds, moves backwards and forwards, moves its head and shows expressions via its yellow LED eyes. If you hit “mode” again the robot changes to Dance; if you then press “go” he will dance to disco music. If you hit “mode” a third time, the light goes red and the robot is on Guard and searching for intruders. If someone walks in front of him (within a three-foot radius) he will wave his arms and make an alarm sound.
By accessing the free app, all three modes can be enhanced and bettered. For example, in Program mode the user can manually enter a sequence of action instructions that make the Blu-Bot move as desired. In Dance mode you can select both music and choreography for the robot. By accessing the app, whoever holds the device also has the ability to make the Blu-Bot move continuously anywhere that they choose—although this function can deplete the battery and it can be difficult to get the robot to move in diagonals since his movement is somewhat restricted. In all modes, the Blu-Bot will detect an obstacle in front of it and move to avoid it. To play with the app, Bluetooth must be enabled and reconnected each time the robot is turned back on.
The Blu-Bot also has the capability to make announcements via pre-recorded voice messages. Essentially, users go to “Voice Change Mode,” record messages and then play them back via the robot by using the voice change cursor. The best messages can be saved and used over and over again. However, the robot’s speaker is not very loud and that should be remembered during recordings.
Although this is a very entertaining toy, it does have some flaws. The robot’s movements can be jerky and there is no way to control the speed in which it moves. Additionally, it makes many loud noises that can prove to be quite annoying so it is a good idea to be mindful of its volume control capabilities. Although the robot can move its head and legs readily, its arm movements are fairly restricted which limits its overall abilities. Although it can avoid certain objects, it has no depth-perception. If you play with it on a table be careful or it might walk off the edge and break.
Overall, this is a very interactive toy with an attractive exterior that will appeal to both toys and girls. It is a lot of fun to watch the robot move and dance. Although its movements are not as seamless as they could be, this is only the first model so it is logical to assume that future productions will be much more flexible. Overall, I give this toy 4 out of 5 stars and especially recommend it to children who are interested in robotics and/or programming.
Blu-Bot retails for $59.99. To learn more about Blu-Bot and/or Silverlit Toys visit the official website.