I love robot toys that sound a little different. The Robini-i has the usual programmable stuff, but also includes playing field accessories for real-world matches (if you can convince a friend to get one), and connects to an online community.
The two-wheeled bot has 16 sensors and four processors, and either happily wanders around on its own, or you can take control. Windows software and a USB hookup lets you program all aspects of its behaviour, including moods, reaction to stimuli, and if it freaks out or mingles when it meets other robots.
The $US250 starter kit (available September 28) includes base stations, hubs, and gaming cards to set up real world playing fields. What caught my eye: a specially tagged ball allows for a variety of competitive ball games (the Roboni-i has a special scoop and uses Zigbee RF to ).
If you’re bored of playing by yourself—or none of your friends wanted to sink $US250 into a wheelie bot—you’ll be able to go online to play video-game based matches, track stats, or get tips from the Robini-i community.