21st Century Robots from WowWee

robotWe ran into these weird, wacky robot thingees from WowWee at this year’s Official Grammys Gift Lounge, which means that every presenter, nominee, and winner at the the 56th Grammy Awards got to take one home back in January. It was just a matter of time before we had the chance to take WowWee’s MiP and Elektrokidz for a test run ourselves to learn what they were all about, and here’s what we found out.

MiP is an acronym for “Mobile Inverted Pendulum,” which basically means that it’s a movable object with a center of mass above its pivot point. If that sounds fancy, it’s because it is. MiP is the result of a collaboration with the University of California at San Diego Coordinated Robots Lab, so it’s not just a toy: it’s an actual robot. MiP balances itself on two wheels and responds to sights, sounds, and motion while also being able to balance objects. It navigates with the help of hand movements through a special technology called GestureSense and can also be controlled via Bluetooth and a free app. It’s now available at Best Buy for an MSRP of $99.99.

Elektrokidz

Elektrokidz, meanwhile, are hair-dancing troll-type characters whose tresses move to the beat of your favorite tunes. There are six different Elektrokidz in matte or gold, each with its own unique finish. Plus, each little guy has its own unique hair-motion so they all have their own style of “dance.” Elektrokidz are also available this spring for a MSRP of $19.99.

Both MiP and Elektrokidz join WowWee’s existing family of imaginative projects, which ranges from Once Upon a Zombie dolls to a drawing tablet iPad app for kids called ArtSee Studio, with five other robot-inspired wares in between. Overall, we think both MiP and Elektrokidz show how toys and technology can come together in fun, unique ways. Highly recommended for both kids and the young-at-heart.