Got robots? A gift guide for the robot fans in your life

It may be hard to believe, but the holiday season is right around the corner — and with that, brings the inevitable question of “What am I supposed to buy for that impossible person?” Whether it’s your friend who has everything, the tween who doesn’t like anything, or your dad who told you not to get him anything, shopping for the hard to buy for can be an exercise in frustration. But before you hit up the gift card display in desperation, there is one thing that is bound to make even the hardest person to buy for happy: A robot.

Okay, so maybe getting Grandma her own personal robot maid like Rosie on “The Jetsons” isn’t possible, but we are getting closer all the time. Until then, here are some robot gift ideas that are bound to make anyone feel a bit more holiday cheer this year.


iRobot Roomba 980 Vacuum Cleaning Robot

So you’ve probably been told that buying appliances is a bad idea, but this iRobot Roomba is no ordinary appliance. This $900 vacuuming robot can clean almost everything without you lifting a finger, and unlike previous versions, has technology that will keep it from taking a tumble down the stairs. Best of all, you can control the Roomba from an app on your smartphone, meaning that you can schedule a cleaning from work, or while you sit back with your feet up.


The Grillbot Automatic Grill Cleaner

Much like a Roomba, the Grillbot uses the same technology to thoroughly clean the grill. Instead of scrubbing the remnants of last night’s steak dinner off the grates yourself, the Grillbot works in 20-, 30-, or 40-minute cycles to do it for you. At $77, this little robot gadget is ideal for the guy who has everything and loves to grill often.


Anki Cozmo

Perhaps the closest item to what most of us think of as “robots,” the Anki Cozmo is an adorable little robot on treads who will become your best friend. The more time you spend with this little guy, the smarter he gets. He’s powered by a sophisticated artificial intelligence that will respond to you and your actions, and he loves to play games.

At $180, Anki Cozmo is ideal for anyone who is interested in robotics as well. Not only can you control the robot with an app, you can also use customize Cozmo to add more features and functionality, making Cozmo a fun and educational friend. Through companies using logic PIC cells capable of programming and a willingness to be more open source, the customizable trend could continue further over the next few years.


Thames & Kosmos Remote-Control Machines: Space Explorers Science Kit

Getting a new robot is fun, but building your own robot is even better. This Thames and Kosmos kit runs about $70, and gives kids ages 8 and up the chance to build their own robot space craft models. The kit has enough supplies to build as many as 10 different models, including a Mars Rover and satellite, each of which can be controlled by up to three separate motors. However, the best part of this kit is that kids have the option of using their own creativity as well to design their own working machines, which can be controlled via remote control.


WowWee MiP Personal Robot

Another robot, the $70MiP, is designed for play. Balancing on two wheels, the battery-operated MiP will follow you around based on hand gestures, dance, play games, and carry small objects on its tray. The MiP can also be controlled via a smartphone app, and play seven interactive games. Unlike the Cozmo, MiP doesn’t allow for customization, but it’s a great starter robot for a younger child who is interested in robots and wants to play.


4M Robot Kits

From turning a recycled aluminum can into a recycling robot, to a kit to create a doodling robot, 4M’s collection of inexpensive robot kits are ideal for a budding robotics enthusiast. Ranging from $10 to $20, each of 4M’s kits includes all of the necessary supplies for building a simple functioning robot. For developing STEM skills and opening up the power of robotics, these are an ideal gift.

These are just some of the robotics related gifts hitting shelves this year — and undoubtedly more will arrive in the coming years. So if you’re stumped, consider some of these ideas, and have some happy gift recipients this holiday.

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