Fritz Robot

What makes it different/cool

Fritz came into our house as part of a Kickstarter project. My husband saw the campaign and decided that Fritz offered a great point of entry into robotics for our two sons. In fact, they had some fun putting Fritz together (though my husband handled most of the heavy lifting and the kids joined in intermittently and under heavy supervision).

This is a DIY assemly project called Fritz, the robot.
This is a DIY assemly project called Fritz, the robot.

The Fritz kit came rapidly after the Kickstarter was funded. In fact, we marveled at how efficient the XYZ team had to be to get things pulled together and shipped so quickly. The packaging was streamlined, simple, and well laid out.  The hardware for Fritz was really well organized and putting it together went pretty smoothly.  We hit kinks with the software (more updates on this post shortly) and we haven’t overcome those kinks to date. Turned out that the software didn’t load properly and we could never get Fritz to respond to commands as planned. We did contact XYZ and they responded really quickly with a fix, but this was one of those times that our own schedules got in the way of a cool project. We have the updated software and need to get back to testing out Fritz…maybe putting together this post will inspire us to reopen the Fritz experience.

Cost: $$ – You can get a Fritz in your home for anywhere from $75 to $230. The website has two options, the simple and advanced. The site also has several useful replacement packs for parts and components.

Link to website: http://www.xyzbot.com/

Ubooly – Exploratory Toys for the Next Generation

Interactive play for kids with Ubooly!
Interactive play for kids with Ubooly!

Uboolies make the world a brighter place! These plush toys with educational apps are really fun for the younger kiddos in your life. I first found Ubooly through their second Kickstarter campaign and, pretty much, fell in love!

What makes it different or cool?
Ubooly lives up to their goals by creating an engaging experience for kids that inspires creative thinking and active play. My favorite adventure with the Ubooly is the ‘Cave Exploration’. That adventure had my older son (10 at the time) hiding in a dark room and transported us both to a cave with bats, stalagtites, and dripping water…it was really fun for both of us. With that said, I think that Ubooly is best suited for younger kids (about 4-8 seems like the ideal age range).

This year Ubooly was selected as one of the TechStars companies for the Disney round. That is a huge and well deserved honor! Ubooly is testing their product with kids and developing new forms of play and games. These are toys for the next generation!

Who makes this product? Ubooly (of course!)

Where can you find one? http://www.ubooly.com/ and you’ll want to sign-up for credits so that you can access the latest games and activities over time.

Cost: $$* Uboolies are very reasonably priced. The stuffed toy is between $20-60 depending on what size you purchase. Then you will need to subscribe to an account for game/activity downloads, but this is pretty reasonable in comparison with other game/apps. Plan on an additional $15 – 50 so that Ubooly’s new friend can download the games that are most interesting to them.

*One caveat about the cost is that Ubooly uses a digital device, like an ipad or iphone so there’s an embedded assumption (for many people today, it’s just a given that we have a digital device handy – the real question is whether you are willing to let your child run around the house with it. Fortunately, Ubooly has been designed with the protection of your device in mind. The sturdy construction of the toy seems to have enough padding to keep devices safe during adventures.