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Robot wars: A gift guide to the best bots fighting for your attention this Christmas

Science & Technology | Published:

All the artificial intelligence you could possibly need.

Sphero’s R2-D2 is among the new robots on the market (Sphero)

It is no longer the distant daydream of the sci-fi fanatic to own an intelligent robot, in 2017 it is now a reality.

This year has seen some notable introductions to the consumer robot market – an area that remains very focused on play time or gaming companions – but also some advances to existing products.

So if you know someone who dreams of owning their own robot, one of the following could be just what they need.

Cozmo

Cozmo
(Anki)

Thanks to facial recognition, Cozmo learns and recognises faces and reacts to expressions and uses a range of sensors to understand and explore his surroundings.

He can also be controlled and customised via a smartphone app.

He comes with three small cubes with which a whole range of games can be played, and is also smart enough to entertain himself, often choosing to challenge you to a game at random, based on his mood, which is affected by a built in “emotion engine” – which changes based on your interactions and if he’s kept fed on energy.

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Cozmo offers a robot-human interaction experience more in-depth and natural in feeling than any other we’ve experienced, making him a robot must-have.

£199.99 from Anki

Sphero R2-D2

R2-D2
(Sphero)

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Lovingly recreated in impressive detail, Sphero’s R2-D2 is definitely the droid you’re looking for. The small bot comes with an integrated speaker for all R2’s signature beeps and boops, as well as what Sphero calls “authentic movement”, which includes the memorable waddles from the Star Wars films.

Just like the BB-8 version, R2 will also react to Star Wars movies when you watch them with him, and can also interact with other Sphero robots.

A must for any Star Wars fans.

£129.99 from Sphero

MekaMon

MekaMon
(Reach Robotics)

In single player mode, users place the MekaMon on an augmented reality mat and then battle virtual enemies on their smartphone screen while the robot darts around the floor in front of you.

Then in Battle mode, the MekaMon can challenge friends who have their own bot to live action battles, with battle strategies and special ability cards available to help players upgrade and customise their own robot.

£299.95 from MekaMon

UBTech Alpha 1 Pro

Alpha 1 Pro robot
(UBTECH)

It’ll react to music and dance, using it’s wide range of movement to catch the eye as it does. Makers UBTech even suggest the bot as a workout partner for fitness routines and yoga.

Controllable via a smartphone app, the Alpha 1 Pro also includes coding games, which introduce basic coding skills in a simple context.

£499.95 from Amazon

Neato Botvac D5 Connected

Neato D5 robot vacuum
(Neato Robotics)

Controllable via the connected Neato app, users are able to start, stop and pause cleaning sessions even when they’re not in the house.

The vacuum is able to work across different floor types, and uses laser navigation to find its way around your home and the various obstacles in it.

£599.99 from Neato

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