Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Cozmo by Anki

Cozmo by Anki

Spring 2017 Toys
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Anki Inc.
Price: $179.99

Cozmo by Anki is a unique, innovative robot capable of many kinds of human interaction. Shaped like a tiny white bulldozer, his pixelated LED-based face is expressive and entertaining, reminiscent of the robots of Wall-E's adventures. Through the mobile app, Cozmo can be told to scan faces, and on future interactions, the robot will call known people by name. (Cozmo can sound out words and phrases; his pronunciation is often imperfect, but comprehensible, and that adds to his charm.) Cozmo reacts to the world around him in many other ways -- for example, expressing fear of heights and caution near the edge of a table, laughing at a victory, expressing frustration at a failure.

Cozmo is capable of one-on-one interaction with people and physical objects. The starter set includes digitally-recognizable play cubes that can be used for games like Keepaway and "Quick-Tap" (in which you try to react to a cube color match faster than Cozmo can -- it's not easy!). The app rewards kids who return each day by offering new goals and challenges, and by playing with the robot kids earn points to unlock new games and teach Cozmo new tricks.

Cozmo is astonishingly impressive, a leap forward in robotics toys. Kids are unlikely to tire of his antics quickly. Older users with some confidence in programming can take Cozmo further by installing the free Software Development Kit, available through Anki's website, and take Cozmo in entirely new directions. Cozmo is absolutely a must-have for fans of smart toys.

Emily Crawford   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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