Exhibited during Toy Fair 2011 in New York, Desk Pets' TankBot has joined the likes of the HELO TC, Sphere and AR Drone in the growing ranks of smartphone-controlled gizmos. In addition to smartphone control, the US$25 bot has individually powered tiny tank-tracks and infrared sensors for free-roaming and maze solving modes.
There are three TankBot's modes available - maze navigation, free roam and remote control.
UPGRADE TO NEW ATLAS PLUS
More than 1,200 New Atlas Plus subscribers directly support our journalism, and get access to our premium ad-free site and email newsletter. Join them for just US$19 a year.UPGRADE
When in free roam mode, TankBot moves autonomously making sounds according to the situation, while in maze navigation mode IR sensors allow it to avoid obstacles.
Remote control works using a dongle that plugs into the smartphone's headphone jack along with the free iOS 4.2 and Android compatible app. The range is quite limited though, offering up to 3m (9.8ft) and the remote must be pointed toward the front black screen of the Tankbot to work properly, the producer says.
Tankbot comes with a built-in, USB rechargeable battery powered that's good for up to 15 min of battery life and there are four colors (orange, blue, black, and green), with each operating at its own frequency so you can play in a wider group. Both, the remote and the app are also compatible with other toys by Desk Pets.
Desk Pets says Tankbot has been shipped to retailers and should be available at Radio Shack and Toys "R" Us, priced at US$24.99.
Here's Desk Pets demo: