New HexBugs Swarm, Smartly

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HexbugsHexbugsLast year I reviewed the awesome HexBugs by Innovation First, and I’m happy to say the little critters are only getting cooler!

The original model consisted of uniform guts with different colored plastic shells, and utilized two antenna touch sensors and one audio sensor to react to its surroundings. The updated model (actually two new models) add a new level of sophistication.

HexBug Crab (upper picture)
The Crab model serves as something of an enhanced Generation One ‘Bug with the touch sensors replaced by a light sensor. The light sensor is on the top of the unit, underneath its translucent shell. Its audio sensor, like the previous generation, sits in back by the on/off switch.

HexBug Inchworm (lower picture)
The misnamed Inchworm actually doesn’t resemble a worm very much. It scuttles around like some sort of alien bug. The Inchworm’s killer feature is a tiny 2-channel controller that gives you a limited control over the bug. You can even control two Inchworms by switching channels on your remote.

While the idea of a tiny remote controlling a tiny bug appeals to me, I love the autonomous nature of the Crab. Part of the charm of the original hexbug was not so much the human-bug interaction as much as the bug-bug interaction. With delicate touch sensors guiding the bugs away from obstructions, it was fun to see them react to each other. I could see future bugs having a multitude of sensors like vibration, touch, tilt, audio and video, allowing it to function as a semblance of an artificial life form.

Buy both hexbugs at hexbug.com and the Crab at RadioShack. You can also buy the original HexBugs on Amazon.com.

Also:

GeekDad Anton’s overlocked HexBug.

The HexBug cats put magnets on the feet of a ‘Bug and it literally climbed the walls.

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