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Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS Personal Robot

£143.02
build quality
fun
design
longevity

4.9

5

Overall

The Meccano Meccanoid G15 is an incredibly ambitious toy with bags of personality and fun. Like anything new, it has a few rough edges, but there's so much brain power in it that your kids can't fail to be blown away.

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KS 4FT - Meccanoid G15 Price Comparison

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2FT - Meccanoid G15 Price Comparison

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Meccanoid G15 Price History

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Sam Applegate

19th October 2015

By Sam Applegate

I like bacon sandwiches.


There is little more cool about a toy than if it has the ability to surprise you, if it has some kind of life of its own. In some cases part of the joy is in putting it together, whilst imagination always has a role to play, but the more a toy can toy to do give it the semblance of independence, the more fascinating it is.

The Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS (Kid Size) certainly lives up to that billing, with an astonishing range of abilities and sheer size that make it almost seem like another family member. Made from poly-carbonate parts rather than metal, at 4ft tall the G15 KS is huge (at least to a child's eyes) and friendly-looking, with big, cutesy eyes offsetting its bony skeleton. It's pretty cool.

Transformers, Eat Your Heart

This clever robot can move its arms and head, speak over 1000 pre-recorded phrases in a friendly and animated voice (not something that you can say about every toy), tell jokes, play games and manages whole bunch of other things. Its "feet" are motorised wheels and are probably the least innovative part of the kit; the motors powering them aren't the most powerful, so the G15 is best used on smooth, flat surfaces like wood or laminate and low-pile carpet at worst. Fortunately its upper body is so dynamic that you quickly forget its leaden feet.

There are three separate programming modes for the G15 KS. One uses an iOS or Android app to directly manipulate the robot, whilst the other needs you to put a smartphone into its chest cavity so that he can mimic your head and arm movements by using the camera. It can be a bit fiddly to angle correctly, but it's still an impressively clever trick.

The best and most impressive mode is where you physically teach the Meccanoid a sequence of moves and sounds, before it replays them back to you. It gives you more control and functionality than the other two, and as a consequence more freedom and potential for fun. There's a also a "lead me" mode where you take the G15 by the hand and it will follow you around the house.

If Only It Could Do The Housework!

In the nigh inevitable event that junior does eventually get bored of the Meccanoid G15 KS, one of the great joys of Meccano's modular nature steps in. There are two additional official configurations of the robot, one into a dinosaur and the other into...something else, as well as infinite improvised possibilities. The parts can also be combined with any other Meccano sets you have, so there's masses of potential.

The Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS has an awful lot of parts to put together, so bear in mind that your help may well be needed, alongside a decent bit of flat space, concentration, patience and a disciplined approach! In all likelihood, it won't be possible to build it on Christmas morning (perhaps, depending on how much you have planned, the whole day), so bear that in mind. It's a minor project in its own right, although if your child is a little older and has experience of Meccano, it's possible that they'll manage on their own.

Another downside is the unsurprising discovery that the G15's voice recognition can be rather hit and miss (particularly if you have a strong accent). It's always a little frustrating when on one occasion you're understood perfectly, yet on another with the same intonation your commands are apparently going in one ear and coming out the other something totally different. Hopefully software updates in the future will reduce this.

You should also be aware that whilst Meccano have managed to make the G15 KS relatively stable (apart from the odd wobble), he needs to be treated fairly respectfully and kept inside. Whilst he's a great companion, he's a house robot!

On the whole, then, it's hard not to be seriously impressed with the Meccanoid. If you're lucky enough to get your hands on one, you'll have an early example of the future of toys to play with.

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To read more on this model, check out the Meccanoid G15 homepage here (opens new window).

Images

  • Height: 122cm / 4ft (G15 KS), 61cm / 2ft (G15 Standard).
  • Parts: 1223 (G15 KS), 621 (G15 Standard).
  • Material: High-impact Polycarbonate.
  • Power: Rechargeable Ni-MH battery pack (G15 KS), 4x C-cell alkaline batteries (G15 Standard).
  • Phrases: Both G15's have over 1000 pre-programmed phrases.
  • Flash Memory: 64mb.
  • Eyes: Both Meccanoid's have over 500 coloured eyes to choose from thanks to programmable LEDs.
  • Programming: Open Source, Learned Intelligent Movement (L-I-M), Motion Capture and Ragdoll Avatar.
  • App:
  • The PEGI 3 rated app is free to download from Google Play or the Apple AppStore. Works with devices with iOS 6.0 and up or Android 4.0.3 and up.
  • Voice Recognition: Yes.

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