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PCR’s guide to the latest AI toys and gadgets

From robots that can teach children to code, to indoor air quality monitors, we round up some of the most interesting AI toys and gadgets out there.

Airthings Wave Plus

Specs: Sensors: Radon, CO2, TVOC, Temp, Humidity & Air Pressure. Visual indicator: Red/Yellow/Green glow ring. Long battery life (Bluetooth: 16 months, SmartLink Hub: 18 months), supports wall or ceiling mount, free mobile app for iOS and Android, web dashboard, mobile notifications, wireless connection (Bluetooth or Airthings SmartLink).

“The Airthings Wave Plus indoor air quality monitor with radon detection and sensors measures VOC’s, CO2, temperature, humidity and air pressure. The Airthings Dashboard includes interpretation of indoor air quality data with alerts and tips to reduce indoor air hazards, optimise ventilation and save on energy costs. The Wave Plus comes with a free, simple to use mobile app that shows clear indoor air quality data and radon levels. Versatile for offices, schools, homes or any public space, the Wave Plus is a great addition for improving air quality which is linked to increased productivity, energy levels and decreasing absenteeism.”

Contact: Daniel Bastone, daniel.bastone@airthings.comairthings.com

Vortex Coding Robot

Specs: Simply pair the robot via bluetooth, and it’s ready to run. The Vortex Robot and apps are fully functional right out of the box. Pair the robot with each child’s personal phone or tablet (compatible with both iOS and Android) via bluetooth.

“Children have endless opportunities to create their own games and can also play the pre-programmed, free games including: Bumping Fight, Virtual Golf, Driving And Robot Soccer. We fully believe in the educational benefits of robotics, and have seen a huge demand for truly effective STEM education tools. We want Vortex Robot to be one of these tools, so we invent “Whendo”, which is for learning graphical programming. Besides, it’s compatible with technology such as open source platform Arduino and programming language Scratch.”

Contact: DFRobot – DFRobot.com

Meccano M.A.X Robotic AI Toy

Specs: 12” tall advanced robot featuring both artificial intelligence and customisable programming, built-in infrared sensors, requires kids to engage in critical thinking, recommended for kids aged 10+, build time of 1-3 hours.

“Unlike anything else Meccano has created, M.A.X. combines artificial intelligence (AI) with customisable programming. The result is a one-of-a-kind robot of your own creation! Budding engineers, innovators and creators can expand their knowledge of programming as they personalize this robot to their specifications. Control it using voice commands, buttons on the MeccaBrain, or the free app. You’ll know exactly what its thinking based on its expressive facial graphics. As a S.T.E.M robotics platform, M.A.X is designed to engage kids in intellectually stimulating play, drawing on their knowledge of science, technology, engineering and math. Try playing on M.A.X’s built-in gaming platform; test your knowledge in a trivia game or listen to some funny jokes.”

Contact: Meccano – meccano.com

Tado Smart Thermostat

Specs: Geofencing, Open Window Detection, Weather Adaptation, New V3+: Air Comfort, Smart Schedule, Multi-Room Control, Hot water control, Insightful reports, Seamless Smart Home integration & voice control (compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant & IFTTT).

“Designed to save energy and costs for users by up to 31%, tado° is an intuitive smart thermostat and app that is compatible with any smart home and can also be used to control multiple rooms. The app allows users to manage heating schedules, whilst showing information such as temperature, savings and the quality of the air at home. Using Geolocation, tado° can turn off the heating when nobody is at home and begin to heat when a resident is on their way back. Using Weather Adaptation and Open Window Detection, it also can change and adapt based on the environment.”

Contact: Exertis – Dan Bieny, Sales Director, +44 7920361598 – exertis.co.uk

Google Home

Specs: Capacitive touch sensors, high-excursion speaker with 2” driver and dual 2” passive radiators, 2-mic array, supports Android and OS.

“Get answers, play songs, tackle your day, enjoy your entertainment and control your smart home with just your voice. Listen to music, playlists, audiobooks and more, getting rich sound from Google Home’s high excursion speaker. Get personalised help with your schedule, reminders, calls, news and more, whenever Google Home recognises your voice. The Google Assistant that powers Google Home is your own personal Google, ready to help when you start by saying “Ok Google”. You can ask it questions and tell it to do things. It can help you get the quickest route to where you want to go – and if it knows when you need to be there it can prompt you to leave to get there in time. Many of the Assistant’s helpful features are based on data. The more the Assistant knows about you, the better it can assist. That’s why you’re asked for permission to use data such as your address or calendar entries during setup.”

Contact: Google – store.google.com

Sphero BOLT

Specs: Create and customise games, draw, block and text coding, built-in sensors, 8×8 LED Matrix that animates and displays real-time data, infrared communication.

“Sphero BOLT’s eye-catching, programmable 8×8 light matrix opens up an endless array of coding and gaming capabilities. Use advanced sensors to track speed, acceleration, and direction, or drive BOLT without having to aim your robot thanks to the compass. BOLT also features infrared communication, allowing your robot to “talk” with other BOLTs. Equipped with Bluetooth SMART and a strong scratch- resistant shell, this robot’s brawn matches its brilliance.”

Contact: Sphero – sphero.com

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