Robot butlers get all the attention at CES, but I've met the coolest robot you can own right now. Rather than clean floors, it can do handstands, flip, dance, fire artillery… and, uh, poop.
Robosen sent me its newest high-end toy robot, the K1 Interstellar Scout, to check out. This programmable bot has 17 servo motors at the joints to give it seriously smooth moves. And it also has serious skills as a tool to teach kid's programming. It follows your voice commands or can be driven through an app.
The app, which works on Android and iOS, encourages exploration through tinkering. There are multiple ways to make K1 perform a wide variety of actions -- some silly and some wicked cool -- that would capture the curiosity of any kid. (Or kid at heart.)
To see it in action, check out the video embedded above. The K1 robot isn't yet released but will start shipping later this month. Prices vary, but the Pro model I was sent will retail for $300. There will be versions that cost less. Even though this year's CES is all-digital, it's nice Robosen could still get me hands-on time (and dance-on time) with a robot at home.
It was quick to pick up and play with the K1. Without any programming knowledge, I got it to do all sorts of tricks. And poking around the app lead me down different learning paths, which is nice to see for students of different skillsets and attention spans.
My kids are a little too young to truly take it for a test drive (it's more for a 12- or 13-year-old), but my 4-year-old daughter did get a kick out of giving it voice commands, such as "Twist butt!" and "Take a poop!" (I'll let you imagine the sound effects.)
This isn't the first time Robosen has wowed me. Early last year, I met the T9, a robot that transformed into a vehicle. This year's upgrade doesn't turn into a car (that's so it could get the price lower), but K1 can perform more stunts. And the app is better designed as a programming teaching portal. At times it turns learning into a game, forcing you to learn the basics before unlocking the fun animations.
But you don't have to unlock anything to jump into a spontaneous robot dance party -- something we all need more of in our lives.