Ozobot is a Tiny Robot Which Drives Around on Your Tablet’s Screen

Tablets are usually used for activities like reading, games, and watching movies, but they're also good for keeping your pet robot exercised. And that includes the Ozobot, a ping pong ball sized robot which I saw at CES Unveiled last night.

ozobot

The Ozobot was one of the more interesting tablet accessories of CES 2014, but I never expected to see it again after its Kickstarter campaign fell through in the first half of last year. So when I saw it at CES Unveiled last night I was thrilled that this nifty little toy had not only thrived, but also that it had shipped a few months ago.

In its simplest form (once you pull off the optional shells), the Ozobot is a tiny robot with a couple motors driving the wheels, a few LED lights on top, and 5 color sensors on the underside.

It's a pretty simply robot and really the only thing it can do (out of the box) is follow a line, as you can see in this video (from October):

But even though it is simple that doesn't mean it's useless. The Ozobot shares an attribute with many simple gadgets: it's only as good as the person using it.

Half the fun is in drawing new lines for it to follow either on paper or on a tablet's screen), and the other half is in finding ways to triggering a pre-programmed behavior in response to the simple sensors.

In addition to simply plunking down the Ozobot and leading it with a marker on paper (or your finger drawing in a paint program on a tablet), you can also download one of the several apps which have been developed for the Ozobot:

ozobot apps

 

The Ozobot's developers have also found a way to program in responses to the simple light sensors, and they've used that to develop a robotics curriculum.

They're  also going to expand on the programming aspects with the next version of the Ozobot, which is due out  later this year. You'll be able to use Blockly, Google’s visual programming language, to write programs for the Ozobot.

 

You can buy the Ozobot on its website and at Amazon. Prices start at $49 for a single bot, and for more fun you can also buy a two-pack.

About Nate Hoffelder (11578 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

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