Ozobots are miniature smart robots than can be used with or without an iPad or Android tablet. They are fun to play with and also teach the basics of programming at the same time. Ozobots use a color based code system – the Ozobot detects color changes and reacts to them, so you can control it via using different colors. I recently had the opportunity to test out an Ozobot dual pack with my kids and we had a lot of fun with them. The Dual pack comes with 4 skins to customize your Ozobots and 2 charging cables. Ozobot’s recommended age range is 13+, but my 11 year old enjoyed programming and playing with them, and the younger children enjoyed watching us.
Ozobots come with a free iOS or Android app, allowing you to play 3 different types of games with your Ozobot on the iPad. The app also introduces Ozobots color codes so you can learn how to program and control it with color. A really cool feature is that even if you don’t have access to an iPad or compatible tablet you can still play – Ozobots respond to paper tracks to and you can even draw your own using paper and colored markers.
The first step is to charge up your Ozobot via a mini USB cable (included) which you need to connect to your computer or charger (not included). The Ozobot comes with a quick guide, calibration card and some Ozocards so you can get started quickly. I’d recommend downloading the app too as it gives an easy introduction to using the Ozobot. If you don’t have a tablet you can get started by following the quick start guide in the box, then visiting the Ozobot website where you can learn the full range of color codes (a short list is included in the box to get you started) and download a variety of printables than you can customize by adding codes to.
There are two types of codes: static codes and flash codes. Static codes are basically colored lines – these cause the LEDs in Ozobot to change color to match the line color. Flash codes are rapidly changing combinations of color, they must be placed on a black line to be recognized and allow you to give Ozobot all kinds of instructions. There are 6 flash codes that control speed; 7 for direction including turning, jumping and u-turns; 3 that control the timer; 7 that initiate fancy moves such as spinning or zig-zagging and 3 to indicate an end or finish line.
The app currently has 3 games: OzoDraw, OzoPath and OzoLuck, with plans to add more.
This has 3 sections: FreeDraw, Playground and Challenge.
Challenge is an excellent place to start as it introduces you to the codes step by step as you solve challenges, so you learn to program the Ozobot as you complete the challenges.
This is a good next step, you pick from a variety of pre-drawn mazes and then customize them by adding your own codes (by dragging and dropping). This gives the player an easy way to experiment with a variety of codes without having to think about the background maze.
After learning about the codes and seeing a variety of different layouts in the previous 2 sections, you can express your creative side and draw your own mazes then add your choice of codes.
This is a 1 or 2 player game. Each player has a start and finish tile, the board is divided into blank tiles and the player has to lay down tiles to create a path for their Ozobot to travel from their start to finish. The computer will randomly draw tiles and each tile must be laid down before the player can move on to the next one. Tiles may be rotated before they are laid. Tiles must create a continuous path if they are placed next to another tile and must not create a path leading off the edge of the board.
This includes 3 different mazes: Equiibrium, The Vortex and Time Machine. You pick between 2-8 outcomes and then choose from the available mazes. You can enter your own outcomes e.g. players names (with photos), or load one of the preset options e.g. numbers, dice, truth or dare. To add some extra excitement, with both The Vortex and Time Machine, elements of the maze are continually in motion so you can never be sure where the Ozobot will end up. Ozoluck is a fun way to add a new element to party games or family fun nights.
My favorite part about Ozobot is that it can be played with or without the iPad. I think the iPad app is a great starting point where players can learn about all the different things Ozobot can do, get familiar with using the codes and gain inspiration on creating track layouts. Once they are really comfortable with using Ozobot then they can use the markers and pens to create their own layouts limited only by their imagination and the size of their playing surface. Instead of being limited by the size of the screen they can create a playing surface the size of their table or even to run along the floor the length of a room. I love how this is a fun toy, but also teaches the player how to control the Ozobot using color coding, and it grows with the player – the more you use it the more complex your coding can become.
You can see the Ozobot in action here:
Ozobots are available in single or dual packs RRP $49.99 for a single from Brookstone,
Ozobot Smart Robotic Game Piece,
Amazon and many other retailers
by Evollve, Inc.
Ozobot is an award-winning smart miniature robot that bridges digital and physical gaming. Designed to learn, play and entertain, Ozobot brings a refreshingly new element into solitary play and shines.
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.
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