Past reviews have touched on Big Toy finally moving in on the robot-kits-for-kids space, and no company screams "Big Toy" quite like the venerable Hasbro. Their "Furreal Friends" line of interactive and responsive plush pets have delighted kids for decades, giving them a no-risk simulation of pet ownership that manages to make responsibility (or a simulacrum of it, anyway) fun. With their Furreal Friends Makers Proto Max, Hasbro intends to teach kids another set of skills that can help them greatly in the years to come—namely, computer programming. Aimed at children six and older, the Proto Max is a cute little pooch that can be programmed to execute routines consisting of over 400 sounds, over 100 eye animations, and dozens of pattered movements.
The Proto Max, like many other products in its class, uses a drag-and-drop interface to make the logic behind programming accessible for inquisitive young minds. The Furreal line has always been about infusing toys with personality, and the Proto Max puts the power to program personality in the hands of the kid themself. The accompanying app comes with a series of mini-games, much like those seen with the popular Sphero bots, that include such dog-like tasks as walking and feeding your Proto Max. All of this is available at a price point that is less than eye-popping, meaning you can test your kid's interest in programming for little more than the cost of regular old non-programmable toys.
Hasbro's latest programmable toys share a key feature: not favoring boys in their form factors. While toys like these burly bots represent the masculine-leaning norm for robo-toys, Hasbro's Proto Max embraces gender neutrality—after all, who doesn't like a cute little puppy? Another programmable Hasbro product announced alongside the Proto Max is their "Dance Code Belle," a toy that completely reverses the paradigm by directly appealing to girls. With more products like these sure to come, we can be assured that our robotic future will be built by all of the kids of today-boys and girls alike.
Some of the triggers are a little confusing...Proto doesn't recognize specific words yet.
There are 10 trigger points on the dog's body...You can set Proto to respond to interactions with those parts in a wide variety of ways.
He's pretty simple to program. You can set the toy's personality...your child can have Max perform his new tricks via remote control or the app.
Can be programmed to perform different actions...app takes a drag-and-drop approach building code sequences, making it easy for children as young as 6 to get involved.
Once you've coded some routines, your phone can be used as a remote control...Compatibility seems fairly limited at this point.
Can be assembled from a few pieces, then connected to iOS or Android devices and personality-programmed with 400 sounds, 100 eye animations and customized routines.
Designed to teach your youngster how to code and comes with a downloadable free app for both iOS and Android. It can be assembled with just eight pieces