Tomy i-SOBOT review

Price when reviewed

The i-SOBOT is a little remote-controlled robot equipped with a generous 17 servo-motors in its arms, legs, wrists and ankles. This enables it to walk around and perform a huge range of actions, including dance moves, fighting stances and even a somersault.

Disappointingly, though, Tomy hasn’t thought to give the i-SOBOT controllable hands, which severely limits its ability to interact with its environment.

The controls aren’t intuitive, either. The controller sports two joysticks and 22 buttons, inscribed with a cryptic selection of numbers and letters. Tap them in the right order and the i-SOBOT will strike a particular pose – the package comes with a “cheat sheet” detailing an overwhelming 129 different combinations. There are also ten commands that can be issued by voice, although – predictably – we had difficulty getting the robot to understand us.

There’s a Special Action mode too, for longer sequences, such as the absurd “tropical dance” or the amusing “air drum”. And if you flick into program mode you can record up to 240 standard movements for playback at the press of a button.

Although overcomplicated, it’s all a great showcase for the enormous flexibility of servo-articulated robots. However, since the i-SOBOT can’t do anything useful, it’s ultimately just a very expensive toy.

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