Battling robots are having a big week. First, Universal released the trailer for Pacific Rim Uprising at New York Comic Con, and it delivered a full buffet of robot-on-Kaiju action. Then today, Mattel dropped its new line of foldable fighting insects designed to teach kids STEM skills and how to eventually build much bigger, world-conquering cyborgs like the Jaegers in Gullermo Del Toro’s rock ’em sock ’em sequel.
Released on the (w)heels of Mattel’s other big new tech toy MindRacers ⏤ a Hot Wheels collaboration with Osmo that hit stores last week ⏤ Kamigami are scurrying six-legged robots that mimic the motion of actual bugs. They’re a joint effort with California-based Dash Robotics and are built, as the origami-inspired name might suggest, by folding and snapping together flat sheets of plastic. The 35-piece DIY Kamigami bug robots bots reportedly take about an hour to assemble and include a bevy of sensors like a 3-axis accelerometer and gyroscope, IR transmitter, and tri-colored LEDs. A 45-minute charge gets about 30 minutes of play.
Once assembled, kids as young as 8 years old can program and control their Kamigami battling insects using a tablet or smartphone. As with most coding toys these days, a free smartphone app uses an easy drag-and-drop programming interface so they can create unique movements, interactions, and dance steps. The bugs wrestle, race, dance, you name it. They can even play freeze tag or just run into each other repeatedly until one gets knocked off the dining room table.
There are eight different Kamigami robots available for $50 each ⏤ from a ladybug named Lina to a scorpion dubbed Scarrax ⏤ and additional shell packs cost $10 if you want to change their appearance. Kamigami went on sale today at Target but will also be available on Amazon and at other major retailers.