Meet M.A.X., the latest intelligent robot from Meccano! This cool robot is fun, personable, smart, active, and has the ability to learn, grow, and develop his abilities and personality the more you interact with him. This robot has a whole lot of great features going for him, and he’s just dying to be your new robotic friend, so read on if you’re interested in cultivating this fun, new, and beneficial friendship.
What Can Meccano M.A.X. Do?
The all new Meccano M.A.X. Robot is this year’s intelligent robot offering from Meccano, much like the Meccanoid robots of the previous 2 years. M.A.X. (which stands for Meccano Advanced XFactor) measures 12″ tall when fully assembled and features AI (Artificial Intelligence), customizable programming, and an electronic face panel that reveals all of his expressions and emotions. M.A.X. also has built-in infrared sensors that allow him to avoid obstacles as he navigates your home on his large rubber wheels, a motorized right hand claw that opens and closes, and a neck servo that allows him to tilt his head from side to side for some additional expressiveness. Among M.A.X.’s top features are the ability to tell you corny jokes, to dance around like a maniac, to tell you your fortune, and a ton of fun facts that he simply loves to dispense, to name but a few of his top skills. Consisting of 332 individual parts, Meccano M.A.X. does take a while to build, but not nearly as long as his Meccanoid ancestors, which I’ll go into further detail about in the next section.
Playing with Meccano M.A.X.
The first step in playing with your new Meccano M.A.X. Robot is the process of putting him together. M.A.X. took me approximately 3 hours to build, but this is likely to vary widely by individual user, based on any number of factors or issues that you may encounter. I, for instance, had an issue that required a bit of backtracking. I may have had my robot built much more quickly if not for Meccano’s inclusion of almost the exact quantity of necessary nuts and bolts. Many of these pieces are specifically sized and shaped, and in some cases you only get a few specific bolts. When combined with instructions that sometimes make it difficult to perceive which sized bolt is required, what can easily happen is that you use your very limited number of longer bolts too soon by putting them in the wrong places. When you later need one of these very specific long bolts to make something connect, you no longer have any left and have to figure out where you went wrong. Then you must disassemble various parts of the robot until you get them all back. This is probably the most frustrating part of building the Meccano M.A.X., but at least he doesn’t have over 1000 parts like the original 4 foot tall Meccanoid!!
One your bot is built, all you need to do is charge the included battery and download his “mind” from the Meccano website. This first part takes in the 4-6 hour range, and the second only about 5 minutes. Then you’re ready to play. But wait, not so fast! There’s much that M.A.X. cannot yet do. In fact, when I first got him up and running, all I could get out of him was a few corny jokes. But not to worry, by the next morning my M.A.X. had already learned enough for him to proclaim himself now at “level 4” (whatever that means) and begin doing more and more cool things. I was able to get him to tell me some fun facts, dance a bit, and even tell me my fortune. It’s pretty cool how M.A.X. learns and develops the more you play with him. As an AI (Artificial Intelligence) infused STEM robotics platform with customizable programming, M.A.X. has a ton of really great features. You just don’t have access to all of them at once.
As a matter of fact, M.A.X. kept on suggesting (between telling me his corny jokes) that I should download his special app and see what all we could do with it, so that is exactly what I did next. It was at this point that I had access to cool new features like Remote Controller, Face Creator, and Programming Tool. I think my favourite of these features was probably Face Creator. With this one you get to go through and select from numerous different facial features with which to build the freakiest face for M.A.X. that you can possibly create. Then, you use your device to take the place of M.A.X.’s real face and enjoy the results. It’s pretty crazy, a little bit disturbing at times, and definitely fun! In the image above, you’ll see one of the truly bizarre faces that I created for my M.A.X.. It’s almost scary looking!
Of course, M.A.X. has a lot more going on than just funny faces. He also has a right hand/claw that can actually hold on to things, 2 big rubber tires (and a smaller third wheel for balance) with which to roll around, a neck servo for tilting his head side to side (this one really helps with M.A.X.’s expressiveness), and the ability to be controlled through either voice commands, the buttons on his MeccaBrain, or to be driven around via the Remote Controller feature in the app. Moreover, M.A.X. is loaded with features we know and love from Meccano’s previous year’s Meccanoid robots. There’s the LIM (Learned Intelligent Movement) feature, where you can record either physical movements or sounds that M.A.X. can then recreate, and there’s a whole heap of voice commands that you can use, such as “Let’s play a game,” “Go on patrol,” and even “I want to show you something,” where you show M.A.X. any object that you like and see his reaction to it. All up, there seems to be just short of a million different ways to have fun with the all new Meccano M.A.X., and I was duly impressed with this fun and amazing little robot.
Examining the Video Evidence
Please take a few minutes to watch my brief video overview of the Meccano M.A.X. Robot. In it you’ll see M.A.X. in action telling jokes, moving around, telling me my fortune, and a whole lot more. It should give you a pretty good idea of what this bot looks and sounds like up close, and whether or not M.A.X. might be right for you. Please enjoy:
I like M.A.X. a whole lot more than I liked Meccano’s previous robots, and I really liked those bots a lot. The advantages of this little guy lie in his more expressive face, his quicker and easier built, and the upgrades to his MeccaBrain and other robotic systems, such as the inclusion of the AI that makes him such a great little learner. In fact, he has many other advantages over his Meccanoid brethren as well, such as being more solid and stable due to his smaller size and (almost triangular) shape, and the fact that he comes with his own battery pack included (the smaller, 2 foot tall, Meccanoids require you to supply your own C cells). One way or another, I really like this robot! Highly recommended.
Gallery of Additional Photos