HEXBUG Micro Robotic Ant

At the NY International Toy Fair 2009, the Texas based manufacturer Innovation First introduced the HEXBUG Ant, a 6cm long new micro robotic insect featuring front and rear touch sensors that allow it to maneuver around objects in its path and wheel-legs that propel it ten times faster than any previous HEXBUG robot. The Ant will be available on store shelves this April and will join its robotic cousins, the Crab, Inchworm, and the original HEXBUG.

The Ant’s six legs are actually propeller-like wheels that help give it a burst of speed across bare floors or carpeting. The unique design of the legs makes this bug ten times faster than any of the other HEXBUG creatures. It is programmed to use the front and rear wire touch sensors to quickly detect and maneuver around obstacles.

The history of robotic or mechanical toys can be traced back to Leonardo da Vinci, with his design of the first humanoid robot in 1495. Robotic toys have been developed and refined quite a bit since da Vinci’s model, and the first robot toy was manufactured in 1939 when Westinghouse created Elektro, a human-like robot, and Sparky, his robot dog. A smaller version, the Omnibot 2000, was a toy robot developed during the mid 1980’s. A more familiar robotic toy, the Furby, was mass-produced, and became exceedingly popular around 1998 – this was one of the first “pet” robotic toys that used sensors as a means of interaction with the environment.

The HEXBUG, which continues the tradition of “pet” robotic toys, was first introduced in 2007 and became the recipient of iParenting’s award for Media’s Best Products of 2009. In recent years robotic toys have found their place in our society, whether they are soft and furry, or, like the HEXBUG, fully robotic underneath their plastic exoskeleton.

The HEXBUG Ant will be available in five different colors (red, blue, green, pink, and orange) and will have a price of $9.99. The price tag of the other robotic bugs in the collection is a similar $9.99 for the Original HEXBUG, $14.99 for the Crab, and $19.99 for the Inchworm. While all of these little robotic creatures respond to touch, sound, or light, only the Inchworm comes with an infrared remote control for more responsive steering action. All of the HEXBUG robots are available exclusively at Radio Shack.
TFOT has covered numerous stories related to robotics, including the android based robot, the micro flying obot, the I-Swarm Robotic Ants, and an amphibious snake-like robot.
 
For more information, you can visit Innovation First’s website.

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