Ubtech Robotics has started selling their Alpha Pro 1 and Jimu robots in South Africa thanks to a partnership with a local distributor.
We had a chance to check out both ranges of robots at a launch event yesterday, and the Alpha reminds us a lot of the original RoboSapien toys from the mid 2000’s.
The most impressive part of the Aplha is its servos. Check out the video below to see it do handstands and a group dance where each robot strays very little, if at all, from the pack.
Your little robot friend will cost you R8 499. Ouch.
More interesting to us was the Jimu series of buildable robots. They’re very reminiscent of LEGO’s Mindstorms platform, and many of its individual pieces look exactly that those we’ve seen from LEGO before.
We built a part of one of the kits and found those pieces to be significantly smaller than that from LEGO, so you’re not going to be able to mix and match, unfortunately.
Ubtech is going to have a difficult time taking on Mindstorms, especially in the education sector where LEGO is dominant, even in South Africa.
The only areas we can see this gaining some foothold is in the slightly cheaper price (see the list of available kits and prices below) as the Mindstorms EV3 set is still selling for a whopping R4 199 in local stores, despite being launched in 2013.
The Jimu’s newer servos are a huge boon too. The smaller robots in the video above – alternate models of the Jimu Explorer set – pull off movements that just aren’t possible with LEGO’s older and larger motors.
You can find the new Ubtech robots at many local stores, the big ones being Apple iStores, Incredible Connection and Takealot.