Controllable Dinosaur 

Described as the “Future of Prehistoric”, the MiPosaur Robot has been developed by WowWee. As the “prehistoric” reference might provide a clue, the MiPosaur is a mechanical dinosaur designed in the style of a miniature T-Rex with its default stance being that of a begging position. This powered and controllable dinosaur is aimed as being suitable for those aged eight years and older.

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Releasing the MiPosaur Robot from the packaging, a task that can be a little time consuming due to the presence of a fair amount of sticky tape, reveals a kit consisting of the MiPosaur robot, with a height of 24cm and measuring 38cm from the nose to the tip of its tail, and a Trackball with a diameter of 8cm.  A Quick Start Guide and User Manuals in English, French and Spanish are included.  However not included, but certainly required, are the four AA batteries for powering the MiPosaur and the four AAA batteries that slot into the Trackball.

Predominately black in colour, the MiPosaur has a built-in microphone, speaker, IR sensor, LED eyes and mood sensor plus a pair of wheels to assist its mobility around its home environment.  Three methods of controlling the MiPosaur are available for use with this dinosaur.  You can use hand gestures, the Trackball or download an app from the appropriate iOS or Android Store for use on a smartphone.

Having placed the four AA batteries in the MiPosaur, where else but its belly, with a Phillips screwdriver being required, you can turn on power via the rear-mounted on/off switch.  The MiPosaur will respond with glowing eyes and a blue coloured mood indicator, showing that the dinosaur feels curious, on the nape of its neck.  You also get an audible response to indicate that the MiPosaur is ready for play and it will react accordingly to its head being stroked or tail pulled.  Ignoring MiPosaur for a period of time will cause it to utter various sound effects.

Using hand gestures, with an occasional clap or two, MiPosaur will turn left or right, spin in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction, fall forwards or backwards, wander around a designated area and perhaps issue sounds such as purr, bark or grumpy noises.  You do to be in fairly close contact for hand gestures to be picked up.

When controlling the MiPosaur with the black and silver decorate Trackball featuring a blue plate, you have the option to switch between six different modes of operation.  Switching is carried out by twisting the blue plate to reveal a different icon and this will be reflected by a change of colour displayed on the mood indicator and instigate a different action if the Trackball is shaken or rolled.  In this manner, the MiPosaur can be encouraged to emit music and dance, be fed, wander around an area and play with the Trackball as if they were best of friends.

When I downloaded and installed the MiPosaur app from the Play Store, it almost immediately advised me that a firmware update was available.  Carrying out this upgrade took several minutes but otherwise proceeded without incident.  Linking a smartphone to the MiPosaur is via Bluetooth.  However this connection needs to be instigated using the app rather than the standard Bluetooth feature available from the smartphone.

Using the app you can drive the MiPosaur around using the smartphone screen as a kind of route map.  You can also bring up a scrollable list of possible food items to feed the MiPosaur.  Not all the available items on the food menu will be as acceptable as others to the dinosaur’s taste buds and digestive system thus causing it to react accordingly.  Other types of action available from the app include battle and a choice of dance styles (Jive, Swing and Rock) using music stored on the smartphone.  When using the app, the other forms of control will be blocked to avoid any possible conflicts.

Fortunately the packaging does contain a message that batteries are not included although a small type face is used to provide this important information.  To avoid any disappointment I would suggest you have at least a couple of sets of batteries for both the MiPosaur and Trackball.  With this need taken care of, the MiPosaur should provide many hours of enjoyable entertainment for the lucky child.  Pricing has been set at £99.99.

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