It’s time to meet Roybi! That is, the new Roybi Smart Educational Robot—a toy, friend, and teacher, all in one. This small, immobile robot is the latest tech toy to combine learning and fun in a single product that’s suitable for both boys and girls. If you have a small child between the ages of 3 and 7, you may want to consider adding this little robot to your family. He’s an ambitious learning toy with many important lessons and useful features—including beneficial features for parents. I’ve been testing Roybi out for the past couple of weeks and am now ready to render my verdict. Is this bot a worthy toy purchase? Keep on reading to find out!
But before you get too comfortable, take a minute or three to check out my brief video overview of this little bot. In it I show what Roybi looks like up close, what he comes with, and I give a brief demo of him doing what he does best—talking:
Roybi features and abilities
Roybi Robot has a multitude of cool, fun, and educational capabilities. Not only is Roybi fully interactive—giving your child a robotic friend to talk to, but he/she (that part is up to you) also provides 500+ lessons across 70 different categories, including the key STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Roybi delivers these lessons, which are designed for kids ages 3-7, via stories, songs, and games. Roybi’s daily lessons are designed to captivate kids, and they can be scheduled and tracked by parents in the special companion app. In fact, the Roybi App, which works with both Android and iOS based smart phones, allows you to customize the learning content to support your child based on their interests, strengths, skills, and perceived weaknesses. Special progress reports show you how they’re doing so you can plan ongoing content.
Roybi also features a unique screenless design, and he uses voice and facial recognition to interact with your child and address them by name. A built-in 1080p HD camera powers the facial recognition feature, and artificial intelligence allows Roybi to accurately assess your child’s responses and answers to questions. Roybi also features emotion detection capabilities that enable him to lend social and emotional support. Other than not being able to move on his own, there’s very little that Roybi can’t do. He even has a 70,000 word vocabulary!
Roybi setup and preparation
Getting Roybi ready for use was relatively quick and very easy. Apart from taking him out of the box, all I had to do was download the Roybi App and pair him to my phone. This involved fishing my Wi-Fi password out and inputting it into the app to help establish the connection. While this likely wouldn’t be a problem for most people, I can never seem to find the notebook where I store my Wi-Fi password, so that’s always a bit of a scavenger hunt. Otherwise, it only takes a couple minutes to connect.
It does ask you to take a photo of your child’s face and give their name as part of setting up an account (as well as for the facial recognition feature), but since I don’t have kids yet, I just made up a name for fun. Of course, you can always use your own face and name if you want. I might actually have gone with that option even if I did have a child, as I kind of find it creepy to provide any “connected” entity with a small child’s information. Maybe I’m just being paranoid? In any case, with Roybi all set up, you’re ready for the first lesson!
Playing with and learning from Roybi Robot
Using Roybi is also very easy. He has a special cradle that he sits on to receive power, and pressing the buttons on the cradle gets Roybi to do different things. But getting into some of the more complex features, such as playing or scheduling lessons, requires using the Roybi App. Lessons in the app are set up according to weeks and days, with more lessons unlocking as your child moves through the curriculum. For instance, Week 1 has a different lesson for each day of the week. When you play a lesson, such as the lesson for Day 1, your child will hear Roybi deliver an “About Me” speech to introduce himself.
This lesson also shows your child how to interact with Roybi by pressing his light-up buttons. Roybi will light up one of his buttons in a particular colour; the child can then press that button, and Roybi will shout out the name of the colour. Each day’s lesson also has a different theme. Among the lesson themes in the first week are “Introduction Friends”, “Feelings”, and “Drawing Your Favourite Toy”. Some lessons have a fair bit going on, so you can set the pace at which your child plays and learns, and individual lessons can be played as many times as your child likes.
One thing I have found about Roybi is that he is definitely geared toward younger children. I initially found myself lamenting the fact that Roybi is unable to move around. Then I realized that Roybi was not designed for me. I may have been spoiled in the past with robots that could really do a lot of physical stuff, but that’s just not Roybi.
Even so, he does do many things that kids ages 3-7 will likely enjoy. He especially likes to sing children’s songs, which you can hear a bit of by watching my video. Although I didn’t have Roybi long enough to get too deep into the lesson curriculum, I’m quite satisfied that he is a very educational toy—or at least has the potential to be if given enough use. This is unlikely to be a problem for kids at the early end of Roybi’s recommended age range, but by the latter end of that range (around 7 years old), I do wonder if he will still hold as much fascination for kids. As I don’t have any kids yet myself, I am unable to test this theory out.
The Roybi Smart Educational Robot is a great little learning toy for kids in the target age range—yet I have somewhat mixed feelings about him. I love the fact that he teaches language and STEM skills, but I don’t like the fact that he has a built-in high definition camera. I just don’t see why a toy for small children needs that. But even with my reservations about him, Roybi does have a great deal to offer. I also happen to love when toys are successfully able to combine educational features with those that are also fun, and I do think that Roybi accomplishes this. If you can look past things like Roybi’s complete immobility (which isn’t likely to bother 3-5 year-olds anyway) and his built-in HD camera, then he may well be worth giving a shot. What it all boils down to is whether or not you have a child in the target age range and whether you see value in educational and learning toys. I do think there’s a lot of value in that, so I can recommend Roybi on that basis—but only to kids at the lower end of his recommended age range. Find the Roybi Smart Educational Robot on BestBuy.ca.