I have been a fan of robot toys ever since I received an original Lost in Space robot for Christmas when I was just a little kid. That began a life long love affair with robot toys. From Transformers to Go-Bots, Shogun Warriors to 1950’s tin lithograph toys, to the Japanese Mecha toys like Gundam and Votoms, I’ve collected them all. But I’ve never seen anything quite like TOMY’s i-Sobot, easily the most sophisticated robot toy ever made.
Standing about 7” tall, the i-Sobot is capable of movements, which dwarf any robot toy that has come before. Forwards, backwards, side-to-side, diagonal and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. This toy is so articulated and so nimble, that it can do handstands, the splits, somersaults, and other exercises. It can perform complicated martial arts moves like karate chops, roundhouse kicks, combo punches and back kicks. Oh, but were just getting started on the hundreds of moves that this wireless remote control wonder can pull off.
i-Sobot is a total ham when it comes to performing in front of a captive audience. I had a group of friends over not long ago to watch a basketball game and we spent a good two hours playing with the i-Sobot. Everyone wanted a turn! This guy can dance a hula or perform a scene from a western movie. He can play air guitar and impersonate different animals. He can display an incredible range of emotions including excitement, regret, pain, worry, love, and more. But this guy doesn’t just move around, he also talks in a vibrant, clear voice and has a vocabulary of over 200 words and phrases.
The i-Sobot has four different operating modes. There is the standard remote control mode which allows you to move him around at will and perform any of several dozen different actions. These are classified by type of action and include punch, kick, and guard actions, common phrases and greetings, emotional actions, showcased actions and mystery actions. The Special Action mode features a number of different complicated longer actions. These include the aforementioned animal imitations, tropical dance, and western scene as well as a Tai Chi performance. The i-Sobot comes with a voice recognition chip allowing you to have it perform several actions in voice control mode. Finally, the program mode allows you to program in your own actions from the remote control and special action menus to give it your own unique movements. There are three memory blocks, each allowing you to program up to 80 actions.
So what allows for all of this agile movement, realistic sounds and complex programming? The I-Sobot features 17 servomotors and a built-in gyro sensor and speaker. There is an IR remote control that can transmit on two different bands with two LED lights on the i-Sobot. The robot is powered by 3 AAA NiMH rechargeable batteries, which come included in the package along with a battery charger. The robot should work up to ten hours on a charge. The remote control unit is powered by three standard AA batteries (those are not included).
If you leave your i-Sobot on, don’t worry, he will bother you several times asking for a command before going into sleep mode after six minutes of inactivity. If you’re toy assembly challenged, don’t worry. The i-Sobot comes full assembled. All you have to do is charge the batteries and install them and you’re ready to go. The toy works beautifully. It’s as fluid as it seems although you do have to use it on a flat surface. DON’T try it on a table, however. i-Sobot likes his space and he’s liable to tumble right off if he’s performing one of his complex maneuvers.
Have a care though, this is a toy meant for kids who are a bit older. You will need, from time to time make minor adjustments to the joints as the servos get out of alignment over time. Instructions on this are included in the 34-page operating manual. The i-Sobot isn’t cheap. The MSRP is $349.00 although most online retailers have it in the $229.00 range. This is one of the most unique and advanced toys I’ve ever seen! If you want to see a demo, check out this link to Tomy’s website: http://www.isobotrobot.com/eng/demos/special.html