This innovative smart toy combines three things kids love: LEGO block building, robotics, and spy missions. Kids role-play a secret spy mission on the computer and then download the mission?s parameters to their LEGO robots for play in the physical world of their home. There are four different Spybotics kits, but each kit comes with the same software.
Here?s how it works. After loading the software, kids assemble their 200 piece LEGO robot by following onscreen step-by-step instructions. Kids then connect their robot to the computer via a 9-pin serial port cable (included). They select a mission (there are five available for one robot, and five more for two robots) and watch a movie showing how the mission sets up in a virtual world. In the one about the power grid being sabotaged, kids see cities losing power and then watch little spybots race to the rescue.
Next, kids click on the Mission Briefing to see how to construct their own version of this mission using things like shoeboxes, soda cans, and desk lamps. After setting up their own version of the mission, kids download the remote control settings and the mission to their bot by using the cable connection. They then disconnect the robot from the computer and use the accompanying remote controller to play the mission. In the power plant mission, kids lose points if their bot runs into an obstacle, and they gain points for quickly reaching the goal of the desk lamp. Because the bot has a light sensor, it beeps, squeaks, and shakes with excitement when it finds the light.
After completing the mission, if kids tether the bot to the computer, it will record the points earned. Kid-testers had a great time trying to better their scores by replaying the missions.
In addition to the 10 missions, children can use their creativity to create their own missions by accessing a separate section of the software.
Kid-testers thought this robotics kit was ?way cool!? Some ran into a little technical difficulty when they failed to follow the sequential steps presented in the software. Parents, you may need to remind your children not to take shortcuts.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.