First, there are those helpful robotic devices that will make things a little easier around the home for 2018. Then there are the robotic assistants and other AI tech on a slightly higher price scale. Then there are the toys for kids. This ranges from the cheap and cheerful stocking filler gadgets for a good laugh, to the more expensive dolls. Finally, there is a look at some options at the top end of the scale – the fancier robots for the rich and frivolous.
Robotic tools for the home that made great Christmas gifts
Of course, all this talk about robot devices and robotic helpers leads to some other products that may be high on many consumers’ wish list this year. Robotic cleaning devices are nothing new. They have provided convenience and help for many years now, and the models have only increased their intelligence, capacity, and functionality.
Robot cleaners are now affordable tools that really can make a difference in many homes. The first example here is a classic that many homeowners will be happy with. The second highlights the breadth of functions and opportunities with these little robot helpers.
iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot:
Some robotic cleaning devices are more famous than others. There are lots of different brands of robotic vacuum out there now, so lots of choice across the price scale. However, the name Roomba is almost synonymous with this product. Therefore many people turn to iRobot first.
The 980 is one of their top Roomba models right now. It retains the cleaning power and capacity that buyers expect, with even more intelligent features. There are no worries about it getting lost or forgetting a scheduled clean. Users can pretty much leave it to its own devices, even in a post-Christmas clean-up situation.
Grillbot is one of those devices that do exactly as the name suggests. There are cleaning devices around for almost any situation. Floor cleaners now have adaptations for mopping. There are window cleaning and pool cleaning robots in many homes to make chores easier to manage. It, therefore, makes a lot of sense that there should also be a robotic cleaner for the grill.
This may not be that seasonal for Christmas, but many men will love this convenient tool. It scrubs away at the mess left behind after a cook-out, leaving more time to watch a game or lounge around.
Fun toy robots for Christmas gifts for kids
The first thing that most consumers will think of when they talk about robot gift ideas is toys for the kids. There are many different products over different price ranges, depending on budget and purpose.
Some parents won’t want to spend too much. They will prefer the idea of some of the cute little interactive toys as stocking fillers. These options aren’t true robots, but a nice starting point.
Others may wish to push the budget out a little with more expensive kits. These are great for those that want either a more interactive companion, or an educational project.
The following five products highlight the range of options here.
1. WowWee CHiP Interactive Robotic Dog:
Robotic dogs are nothing new in the world of toys and friendly companions. There have long been toys that can follow a few basic commands and walk around – however awkwardly. This is an area in the middle of great development as lots of brands work on the cutest, smartest and most functional robot dogs possible.
ChiP from WowWee has to be at the top of the list for many kids and parents. This fun canine pal has top-of-the-line AI algorithms and sensors that allow him to interact more freely with owners and the world around. This all helps him learn and develop a personality.
2. LittleBits Star Wars R2D2:
The recent revival of Star Wars sparked the imaginations of fans old and new. This means a whole new generation of budding Jedis that want the very best models of the franchise’s droids. Once upon a time, this meant fairly basic action figures and moving toys with some sound files.
Today, kids can enjoy interactive replicas that are pretty intelligent. This LittleBits product takes things further by allowing kids to build this R2D2 model from a kit. The final creation works via a tablet as players send it on missions. This all means a greater sense of achievement and learning.
3. LEGO Mindstorms EV3:
This idea of building a robot from a kit is a perfect idea for kids that want to learn more about the skill and science behind robotics. Other kits take this approach to another level, with intricate builds and software.
The best place to start has to be with LEGO. Their EV3 kit brings the fun of LEGO building and art of robotics together with lots of bricks, five designs and smart EV3 Software for easy programming. Players can create TRACK3R, R3PTAR, SPIK3R, EV3RSTORM and GRIPP3R and control them via infrared remote or smart device. There is also an advanced mode for a steeper learning curve.
The Fingerlings are the “robotic” product at the very lowest point of the price range. In fact, some would question whether they count as a robotic toy at all. However, many parents will love this option as an introduction to interactive toys and a great stocking filler. There is no sense of money wasted if the kid gets bored. Still, this is unlikely with these adorable creatures. They have 40 expressive modes and make interesting AI pets.
Then we come to one of the more expensive robotic Christmas gifts for kids. Many children have dolls that they love and adore, carrying them around everywhere. Luvabella has to be the more realistic and interactive yet. This baby feels realistic and even smells more realistic. She is impressively receptive to stimuli, with great interactions and response.
There is also the promise of fluid movement. This is one for parents that are sure that their children will love and care for the doll for a long time, to make it all worthwhile. This is an incredible progression on the typical doll, but one that isn’t suited to all children. This is also the risk that adults may find the realism a little creepy if they have a fear of dolls.
More expensive AI systems and robots for adults
It is not just the kids that want a fun, interesting robot to play with over the Christmas holidays. There are also plenty of big kids that want a more advanced option for the home. Some of these robots are there to help, with clever AI software and features that make them a part companion and part butler.
Others are there for fun – a step up from the robotic toys and pets of youth. The following examples showcase the potential of these robots for the whole household. The first one works on the idea of AI assistance and home help. The third is an evolution on the Star Wars theme.
LG Hub Robot:
Many homeowners now have some form of home hub helping them with tasks in the home. Alexa is a popular tool for many and was probably part of many Christmas gifts last year. Developments with Alexa and compatible device mean more opportunities to add some convenience to the home.
The LG Hub is a great example, with a more robotic approach to proceeding that a basic speaker. The functions and help offered are pretty familiar, with help with recipes, emails, music and more. The key difference is the friendly face on the screen. This face changes “emotion” depending on the situation.
Another popular Christmas gift last year was the BB-S Sphero Droid. The ongoing popularity of the character – and the release of Episode 8 close to Christmas – means new developments to this adult toy. BB-8 is a smart replica that works with sensors and voice recognition to recognize owners and environments. He also has an adaptive personality that builds as he learns.
Another fun feature is the Holographic Communication setting. This is all perfect for keen fans that want their version at home. However, there is also a “life-size” model too for those with a little more money to burn – and space for it to roam.
Top of the line robots for Christmas
Finally, there are the robots at the higher end of the price scale – the “true” robots with impressive skills and functions. Kids can play with robotic toys with some of the basics of movement and voice recognition.
Robots like LG Hub are a step up with greater intelligence and function. Still, they don’t have the sophistication and movement of what many consumers think of as real robots. There are larger, complex robots slowly making their way in the consumer market. They are not that accessible, and certainly not cheap, but they are the robots many people dream of owning.
The three examples below are all already pretty famous, either through news coverage of their development or with hotels and other businesses.
Pepper is a robot that has gone from strength to strength in recent years regarding his/its development, intelligence, and fame. Pepper has now moved over to American soil, expanding his reach as an aid in the shopping malls of San Jose and San Francisco. While limited in accessibility at the moment, he can speak 20 languages, so there is scope for a broader reach.
Kuri is equally famous, but perhaps more interesting and accessible right now. Kuri is the perfect embodiment of the robot maid and nanny. This voice-activated robot can patrol the home with ease, thanks to a detailed digital map and sharp memory. This allows her to carry out many different tasks. One of the most attractive gifts for parents is the face recognition software that reports who has entered the home. This is perfect for intruders, but also teens sneaking in late at night.
Finally, we have Lynx. Lynx is perhaps the most appealing here because of his functions and potential in the home. If the LG Hub is an upgrade from Alexa to a more robotic device, this is a step up again. Lynx is a friendly, helpful companion with a broad knowledge base. The integration with Alexa is a great start, as this means that he can help with calendars, emails and set up programs and music around the home. Further features like the Yoga function increase the appeal.
There is plenty of choices here in robot Christmas gifts for all kinds of family members.
The aim of this guide was not just to highlight interesting new robots, but to highlight the range of options for different people across different budgets. Large, fully-functional robots like Lynx, Pepper, and Kuri have high appeal for those with the money to spend on a high-end robotic maid or nanny. Still, this is out of reach for many consumers. This is where lower-level options, like the advanced hubs and robotic cleaners, can make an impact.
Then there are the fun toys across the price range – from the expensive dolls and Star Wars droids to the cute dogs and monkeys. Families should not assume that robotic device and companions are completely out of reach this Christmas.
A rise in products and tech will always mean an increase in competition and a drop in prices. It pays to shop around and see what is available. Many buyers will be pleasantly surprised with what they find.The idea of owning a robot maid or butler is within closer reach than ever before. Recent advancements in tech and designs mean that there are all kinds of clever creatures, robots, and gadgets on the market. This means the perfect gift idea for all sorts of friends and family members this Christmas.