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Vortex is a programmable robot toy for kids

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When we were young, the most advanced robot toy around was R.O.B., the NES accessory. How times change. Not only does Vortex look a lot of fun, it's also educational.

That's because it's programmable, so kids will learn a thing or two about coding. You don't need any special tools or skills to get programming, just an iPad and a willingness to learn. It also comes with its own pre-set courses that teach you how to get the most from its capabilities, like recognising hand gestures, navigating around obstacles and avoiding drops.

It's open source, and is compatible with Arduino and Scratch, making it highly tinkerable.

If you don't want to tinker with it, you don't have to. Just pair it to your Android or iOS device over Bluetooth, and you can move it around by tapping the screen. It features four pre-installed games: Bumping Fight (like a sumo match), Virtual Golf, Driving and Robot Soccer. You can compete against the AI, or take on a pal.

It finds its way using infrared sensors, and is equipped with speakers, so can make sounds and speak to you.

Read more: Hackaball is a programmable ball that teaches kids how to code

Anything that gets kids coding gets our vote. Like Bitsbox and Hackaball, Vortex looks like it combines learning with having fun, which has got to be a good thing. It's passed its funding goal, and will ship in October. You can snap one up for a very reasonable £45.

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