Hands-on: WowWee MiP balancing robot review (video)

The WowWee MiP is the latest robot from the makers of the Robosapien and this time comes with two wheels to whizz around your living room, listening to your commands or instructions. We caught up with the new robot to have a play at the London Toy Fair.

The small robot is about 12-inches high and works using a pendulum-based technology to keep the top half of the MiP standing upright - basically it can balance itself.

The technology, which was born out of a university lab in California, makes MiP stand so upright that according to the makers he could carry a half pint of beer to you without spilling it. Sadly we only got to test it with some wooden Jenga sticks, but to show his strength WowWee also demoed MiP carrying another MiP on a tray. It's all clever stuff, but only a faction of what the robot can do.

In reality there are a number of ways to control him. You can do so either through waving gestures in front of the robot, by controlling it via an iPhone or Android app as if it was a remote control, or pre-setting the instructions just like you used to do on Big Trak.

MiP has such a memory that he can remember up to 100 commands if you can be bothered to program them in - you know your kid will do so just so he can get from the front door to the back door with an apple for you, by which point you'll have moved.

Of course he also has a mind of his own, dancing, losing balance if you spin him around too much and performing tricks too.

Better still if you put two of them in a room you can chose to let them box it out against each other like a good old-fashioned cock fight, until one of them loses its balance and falls over.

At £100 he is likely to be at the top end of the spectrum when it comes to robotic toys, but with the promise of an API for developers to tap into what he does, and that balancing trick it looks to offer a very interesting alternative to the Sphero 2B launched at the start of the year at CES.

Oh, and rumour has it that the company is also working on a life sized version for 2015.



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