There are tons of educational toys out there for children and none are more fun and hands-on than those that have some kind of assembly. While pre-built toys are fun too and can be played with right away, you don’t get to see the inner workings of what makes them tick. That’s why toys like the Petoi Bittle are so intriguing because it requires complete assembly before you can play with them, but the assembly process is part of the fun. Kids get to learn exactly why the toy works the way it does and they get that feeling of accomplishment knowing that they put this fun toy together on their own (with a bit of their parent’s help of course).
We’ll start with this because, without the assembly, all you have is a pile of parts that doesn’t really do much on their own. The kit we received already had several parts preassembled, such as the body, upper leg pieces, and the head. These are just plastic parts so don’t expect machined metal parts or anything you’d find on a multi-million dollar Boston Dynamics robot. The build quality seems pretty good though and the plastic seems sturdy enough.
There are no instructions in the box that I saw, so I had to go online to their website here and follow the online assembly guide. For the most part, assembly isn’t too difficult and older kids should really have no issues figuring it out. Younger kids however will most likely want help from an adult, especially with the positioning of the servos and screwing in what needs to be screwed in.
Once you get the legs and body assembled with the servos and board installed, don’t attach the legs or head just yet. You need to calibrate the servos first and this requires you to turn on the Bittle first and let the servos do their initial startup. After that’s complete, then you can attach each leg and lower leg portion at the starting 90-degree angles. You’ll want to use the L-shaped calibration tool that came with the kit so you can align the legs as exactly as you can. After which, you’ll want to do fine calibrations with the Petoi app.
The Petoi App is available for both iOS and Android. For the most part, the mobile apps are what you’re going to be starting out with and are great for beginners. If you’re going the mobile app route, make sure you also plug in the Bluetooth module into the control board. From here, pair the Bittle with the app and you’ll be ready to finely calibrate each joint. After calibration, you’ll be ready to use the app as mostly a remote. There are predefined actions in the app you can already use as well as some customizable commands you can set. For the most part, it’s pretty simple to use though the movements of the Bittle can be a bit wonky starting out.
If you don’t want to use the app, you can also use the included remote control which functions if you aim the remote at the IR sensor at the rear of the Bittle.
This is how most kids I think will be playing with the Petoi Bittle. They’ll either be using the mobile app or the remote control. However, for more advanced children who happen to dabble in code, there are several desktop apps that would be more suited for that. We won’t get into the more advanced stuff just yet, but we’ll post more about it in a later post down the line. In the meantime, you can check out all the desktop apps that work with the Petoi Bittle on the Petoi site. Here you can program the Petoi Bittle using Arduini IDE, Python Seria API, and Scratch.
STEM toys are wonderful for children. They’re not only fun, but many can teach kids how they work on the inside and provide interactive play. They’re not just mindless toys for the sake of entertainment. I like the fact that the Petoi Bittle is something kids can grow into as they mature and gain knowledge about programming. These are the type of toys I like seeing my kids play with because they can grow into them as they get older. Also depending on how old your kids will be, they may require your help, which I didn’t mind at all because it’s a great way to bond with your kids too in the process.
So with that said, if you have children who are very tech-savvy and want to get into programming or robotics, I’d highly recommend picking up the Petoi Bittle robotic dog. It’s a great starting point for any child who’s tired of regular old toys
You can grab the Petoi Bittle robot dog now on Amazon.