What are Hexbugs?
Hexbugs are little robotic creatures that react to their environment. There are many different types, from basic little critters that will happily whizz across a desk, to Spider, Scarab and Ant inspired designs which pack some pretty impressive engineering. Designed with the inquisitive in mind, you are encouraged to create ‘Habitats’ for your Hexbug to do battle and race in, with a range of manufactured habitats available. As you can imagine, there are also some pretty spectacular homemade versions too.
Hexbug Nanos are the most popular set to hit the shelves and with a relatively low price point for the starter items they are a big hit with kids. So how do they work? When switched on, the inbuilt batteries rotate a motor and vibrations bend and propel the critters rubbery legs forward. Don’t underestimate how addictive watching these things will be; they mimic real creepy crawlies movements and more sophisticated models (such as the Nano V2) detect walls and avoid obstacles in their path.
At under an inch short the bugs are pretty small (and not to be handed to little ones; their appearance would suggest they are more chewy than they actually are!) The bugs come in various bright silicon colours and you can even get a glow in the dark version, perfect for some late night bug battles.
There’s clear educational value in these robots and for the real addicts, Hexbug are using the brilliantly designed Hand and Stars website as a place for owners to register Hexbugs and get involved in the community. Kids can play online games which are based on old school logic, and are actually quite challenging as I found earlier today!
Why we like them.
It took over 150 different prototypes of legs and many design hours to get the Hexbug range perfect. Collectable, fun and clever, there’s plenty here to inspire young minds and we suspect many older ones as well!
What are the costs
With many Hexbugs to collect, these toys could become an expensive hobby however, you only need the one to get started. Habitats start at £12.99 , all of which can be connected (like Lego or Scalextric). Alternatively kids can create their own environments using household items or a combination of the two – the Blue Peter options are boundless.