The scene is Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the year is 2013 – four years ago, and a cool little app controlled race cars which just stuck to the track. They were a hit, but we never saw them in Australia.
Since then, the company behind them – ANKI – has added a toy robot to their range which has been an overwhelming success in the USA and now both are coming to Australia.
Three products will hit JB Hi-Fi in late September, just in time for the Christmas wish lists – Cozmo, Anki Overdrive and Anki Overdrive: Fast & Furious Edition.
We’ve been hands on with these things and while our full review will come next month, they are super impressive.
Easy to setup, a bunch of fun for both the kids and parents they are genuine smart toys.
Cozmo is a tiny little robot that will set you back $319.99 – the idea is to have essentially a robot pet. Cozmo learns every day as you use him, Cozmo can recognise faces and will learn more and more as you get to know him.
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He is controlled via an app on iOS and Android and can help kids learn coding and even be an opponent in fun interactive games.
“Cozmo is bringing advanced robotics into the home in an engaging and emotive way,” said Boris Sofman, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Anki. “He has been intricately designed to have a deep personality and character traits like the robots that we’ve come to love in Hollywood films, and we’re incredibly excited for everyone to meet him.”
Overdrive is a whole other story – retailing for $269.99 in this game you take control of a mini supercar via your mobile phone – this is the modern day Scalextric offering so much more. The track is essentially cardboard but snaps together magnetically.
The cars go out and drive around mapping the track themselves, but from there you can have races, battles and a whole heap of fun.
Earn points and skills to improve the speed, efficiency and virtual weapons on your cars so you can take on your mates!
“Anki OVERDRIVE takes a game that we all used to love as children — slot cars — and thrusts it into the future,“ added Sofman. “It’s a video game in the real world, providing players with a totally new gameplay experience. Anki OVERDRIVE pairs advanced robotics and gaming together to bring physical products to life at level of depth and intelligence never before possible.“
There’s also a Fast & Furious Edition for $299.99 featuring cars from the iconic films.
Anki products in coming to Australia in September, distributed by MacGear and available across JB HiFi and Australian Geographic.
Pre-order now from:
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.