The robots from Ozobot have been interacting with kids since the company launched in 2014; the newly updated Evo bot is the same pocket-sized coding robot with added proximity and optical sensors, multicolored LED lights, a built-in speaker, and Bluetooth connectivity. (Disclaimer: We were provided samples of Ozobot Evo for this review; all opinions are my own.)
The new version comes to life with a single button push and features three new tricks right out of the box. The Follow, Music, and Escape tricks allow players to create both games and songs and inspire them to teach Evo new tricks with OzoBlockly programming. Younger users can get their own step-by-step lessons in coding with the included experience pack.
Evo bots are easily programmable, but the most powerful method is the OzoBlockly coding language that gives users the power to fully control Ozobot’s movement and behavior. Powered by Google’s Blockly, OzoBlockly has five modes from Novice (with icon-based blocks) to Master (with support for many low-level functions and advanced programming concepts). Evo maintains the amazing color-based Ozocodes ability and will perform functions based on the lines that anyone can draw.
The updated Evo app (available for both iOS and Android) is mirrored on the Evo coding website and features new Explore and Share sections where players can see what other Evo owners have been creating and share their own with the rest of the OzoSquad community. Other enhancements have been made to the existing experiences in the application including the updated Drive section that allows users to teach the new Evo to speak and make sounds while moving about.
Users can also engage with the new Ozobot Evo application to earn stars as they complete their pack, essentially gaining rewards for hacking their Evo–stars will be used to unlock future content, including avatars and other features.
Robot collaboration with humans is already happening and most children are not prepared for a future when robots are ubiquitous. Our goal at Ozobot is to prepare the next generation with the tools they need to succeed in the constantly evolving, fast-paced world of technology and our latest Evo does just that.
— Nader Hamda, CEO and Founder of Ozobot
All of the new features are part of Ozobot’s desire to encourage creative thinking and social interaction in kids. The new hardware inspires collaboration when multiple Evo bots are brought together, they can communicate and interact each other.
The tremendous updates to Ozobot Evo with the new hardware and application are continuing through 2018 as new features are brought online and as the reward system continues to grow.