Geeks and robots go together like Apple pie and ice cream. Robots have dominated popular culture for generations. They fill vital roles in popular geeky stories like Star Wars and Doctor Who. They have advanced industries like manufacturing and medical science.
So, what do you give a geek that loves robots? Chances are, they’re not going to be overwhelmed by just any robot toy off the shelf.
Let’s example five really awesome robot gifts available today for the geek in your life.
BB–8 by Sphero
The first geeky robot on our list comes directly from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. BB–8 has only been seen in trailers, and yet has already captured the hearts of geeks worldwide with its unique movement mechanism and playful personality.
BB–8 isn’t your average droid. It features a floating head that sits on top while its gigantic ball-like body spins every which direction underneith it.
BB–8 connects to your Android or iOS smartphone, and has the option to respond directly to direction command or roam the space autonomously. Its included software even gives you the ability to record and watch virtual hologram videos.
What purpose does BB–8 serve? Entertainment, really. It won’t serve you drinks or clean your home. It will make you smile, and isn’t that enough?
ROBOTIS OP2 / DARWIN-OP2
For more serious robotics fans, the ROBOTIS OP2 (known as DARWIN-OP2 outside of the U.S.) is tough to beat. It is a humanoid robot designed by the folks at Virginia Tech, Purdue, Penn Engineering, and NSI.
It stands 17.90” tall and weight 6.61 lbs. With Wi-Fi and gigabit ethernet support built-in, it’s essentially a computer with arms and legs, capable of taking in new data and adapting to the needs of its user.
Oh, and it runs any version of 32-bit Linux or Windows. So, if you really wanted to, you could plug in a USB keyboard and mouse and check your email from it. After all, that’s what $9,600 robots are for, right?
In reality, it means that you can take advantage of Microsoft’s extensive library of robotics software. ROBOTIS OP2 is made to be used for research, and its flexible software and hardware design fits this need perfectly.
iRobot Create 2 and Roomba 980
iRobot is known for making a variety of robots designed to clean your home, but the Create 2 is something very different. It’s designed for users to hack, develop, and build a unique robot with.
The one thing it won’t do out of the box is sweep your floor. If the geek in your life isn’t into hacking or developing, the iRobot Roomba 980 may be just the ticket.
It is currently the most advanced robotic vacuum in the wildly popular Roomba line. It is packed with features that make it a great automated vacuum system including: carpet detection, location awareness, self-charging, obstacle avoidance, and app control via iOS and Android.
After all, what self-respecing geek would want to vacuum their floors by hand when a robot could do the job for them?
LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3
LEGO’s MINDSTORMS product line has long been a popular choice for robot enthusiasts of all ages. With EV3, the platform steps up to a new level of usefulness with over a dozen configurations available right out of the box.
One of the coolest aspects of the MINDSTORMS is that it easy to move from one type of robot to another. An R2-D2 styled rolling bot can be reassembled into a humanoid, a scorpion-like crawler, and more.
Plus: Geeks tend to be fans of LEGO. That’s two awesome gifts in one!
One of the least-popular chores among cat owners is cleaning the litter box. Now, imagine if this box cleaned itself. Wouldn’t that be incredible?
That’s exactly the idea behind the Litter-Robot III open air automatic self-cleaning litter box. This litter box is big enough to fit even the largest of housecats, rotates and filters out clumps from unused litter, and stores the mess in a container that you can change weekly.
This takes a daily chore out of your schedule, freeing you up to do more important things.