By Peter Griffin 12/12/2017

This is a Sciblogs series running through until Christmas Eve highlighting some of the gadgets we’ve been using this year… gadget no. 1

I feel sorry for the people responsible locally for promoting the Anki Cozmo. They really had to try hard to convince me that reviewing a toy robot was going to be a worthwhile experience.

I’d also just come back from the robotics expo in Japan, where I had my fill of cutesy but not particularly useful robots – from mechanical dogs, to a cat like robot that sits on your knee, heats up and purrs just like a cat. Weird.

But a flash of inspiration struck me as I unwrapped the Cozmo in the office. My colleague at the Science Media Centre, Dacia Herbulock, has two curious-minded and gadget-loving kids. Why not unleash Cozmo on them and see whether, after a couple of weeks, Cozmo is still motoring around or is gathering dust?

The video review below from Sebastian Buzenberg (aged 9), wraps up the experience of having Cozmo in the Buzenberg household for a couple of weeks…

My take: At $360, the Anki Cozmo is an expensive little toy, too expensive to be left to languish after a few weeks of use over the summer holidays.

But Cozmo’s tactile toy attributes, the way interacting with it has been cleverly gamified, and using the smartphone to control it, give kids an engaging, fun experience while teaching them about how to interact with technology in a productive way.

It is also an opportune time to be looking at buying the Cozmo, which has been on the market overseas for over a year. A recent software update has added a lot of new functionality and expanded the Code Lab aspects of Cozmo that allow kids to learn the basics of computer coding – an incredibly useful skill that also introduces them to the concept of artificial intelligence that will play such a key role in their lives.

The software extends the potential life of Cozmo meaning you should get your money’s worth.