The Ozobot Evo may not look like much – it's just an illuminated, blinking, 1-1/2 inch ball on wheels – but it can do amazing things. You can not only choreograph movement and blinking light routines from its smartphone app, but you can also write code for it using a unique programming language that involves drawing lines on the included Playfield, where color-coded dots tell the Evo what you want it to do. This is the kind of smartbot that will appeal not just to kids, but to adult robotics hobbyists, too. It can communicate and pass on programmed routines to other Evos via its app and comes with a board that lets it play computer games. This could be the Xbox of bots, except that Xboxes are a lot harder to program.
The Ozobot comes with a selection of colored markers that can be used to draw the lines that program it to perform tricks, like spinning, flashing, changing speeds and zig-zagging. It's also fully programmable from the smartphone app, where you can drag and drop computerized commands to form a complete and complex program for the routines that this tiny ball can perform. So, like the Makeblock Codeybot and the Sphero Sprk+, the Evo can teach the basics of computer programming to kids and adults alike. You can store these programs in the app and show them off to demonstrate your expertise to visitors who might mistake the Evo for a rolling tennis ball. For a 1-1/2 inch toy, the Evo has more smarts than some smartphones.
Games included in the app include Evo Launch, where players can draw colored "planets" on a sheet of paper and compete to see who can program Evo to hit all the planets in the fewest moves. More games are available from Ozobot's website, where you can also find Ozo skins that will turn him into members of the Avengers. Tony Stark would be proud.
If you're the kind of robotics fogey who prefers assembling bots to playing games with them, you may prefer the Meccano Meccanoid XL 2.0, but the only game Meccanoid will play is telling corny jokes.
I love the combination of coding and fun.
Fun to control and you can make your own color combinations.
The Evo will not power up after one use due to the internal start switch breaking off.
We really appreciate its quirky personality, portability, ability to draw tracks with any marker on any paper, and all the entry points it has for playing and coding.
They are really cool because we can code with them and it's so much fun.
As an educational tool, Evo is a winner, and I can see it really enhancing a classroom programming setting.