Parents will understandably be attracted to Wonder Workshop’s Dash Robot, perhaps even dash to buy it, when they learn that it’s a multi-awarded toy. Among its awards are the 2015 National Parenting Gold, the 2015 Holiday Most Wanted List of Time to Play Magazine, and the ISTE Best of Show for Schools.
Of course, these awards are just ink on paper, so to speak, when the Dash Robot doesn’t provide children with educational and entertainment values. We then tested whether Dash is, indeed, a kid-friendly robot that children as young as six years old will appreciate for being responsive to its environment (i.e., it learns as it goes along). Here’s what we found out.
Features of the Wonder Workshop Dash Robot
The Dash Robot has an attractive design that for children and adults alike. This can even be displayed as part of a collector’s item of toy robots, thanks to its eye-catching style. But it isn’t the only reason for its popularity because the Dash Robot has other features that make it a worthwhile purchase.
Comes fully assembled
Unlike many build-your-own robot kits, the Dash Robot already comes fully assembled in its box! You and your children don’t have to deal with dozens of parts that require assembly and with step-by-step instructions for it. You just take it out of its box and voila! You and your kids can use it although the Wonder and Blockly apps should first be installed.
The robot also doesn’t require batteries, thanks to the USB charging cable that comes with the toy. You just plug the robot into an electrical outlet and let it charge for a sufficient number of hours. Once fully charged, your kids can play with it until the juice runs out.
Compatible with Apple and Android devices
The robot can be programmed and controlled using an Apple or Android device, thus, making it more suitable for elementary school-age children six years old and above. Your chosen device, which can be an iPad, iPhone or Kindle Fire, should also be equipped with Bluetooth Smart 4/LE for the robot to respond to the commands.
The Dash Robot is a highly responsive robot that can be programmed to do a wide range of movements. Basically, your kids can define their desired play parameters, whether it’s the more sedate make-believe afternoon tea parties or the more active outdoor adventures. You will appreciate that your kids can create their own imaginative worlds with the Dash Robot.
With sensitive sensors
The robot’s highly responsive quality partly comes from the number of sensors on its body and partly from its powerful processor. The sensors allow it to detect objects in its path, both in its front and behind it, as well as pinpoint your location and run its programs. The more programs you put into it, the more playful it can become.
With two building brick connectors, free of charge
The set also comes with two building brick connectors, which means that the robot can be connected with Lego’s Technic bricks. Your children can then transform the Dash Robot into more fantastical shapes, such as an animal, a vehicle, and even a catapult! Your Lego bricks will have more uses because of such connectivity using the building brick connectors. The Lego bricks, however, aren’t included in the set so you must buy them separately.
With several applications
The toy robot isn’t just a robot that can be controlled from a compatible device. You will also find several built-in applications that can be expanded with more programming, if your children already have the skills. The built-in applications include:
- Go, a basic app that allows the controller to make the robot move around, make noises, record and play back your voice, and turn on the lights.
- Path, the app that makes the robot race around a race track, among other more fun activities.
- Blockly, the standard coding program recommended for children by code.org, thus, a great opportunity for your young and old kids to learn the basics. Your kids will be able to learn even with zero experience, a valuable bonus for parents who want their kids to have a good STEM foundation.
Of course, there are limitations to the toy robot, such as the lack of instructions that may hinder younger kids from enjoying it to the fullest.
- Feels strong and sturdy even after weeks of playing
- Excellent motors coupled with responsive programming
- Crisp movements from tracking a path to turning corners
- Allows kids to learn coding on their own terms
- Compatible with most contemporary devices
- Has plenty of movements
- With puzzles, challenges and projects for nearly endless possibilities for play
- Good for building problem-solving and decision-making skills
- One customer complained about the difficulty in connecting to Bluetooth
- Games may be too simple for older kids
The Dash Robot is being used in hundreds of schools, which proves its STEM learning opportunities that parents can use in their homes. But learning won’t be as productive when it’s all learning and no play. Fortunately, this toy robot combines both learning and creativity in one package so it’s a worthwhile buy.