There are quite a few robot dogs (and even a few cats) on the market. However, Hasbro's new Furreal Makers Proto Max pet might be one of the few that allow you and your child to program your new best friend. Priced at $119.99, this STEM toy combines the cute and cuddly interactions the Furreal brand is known for with beginner's coding tools to help foster your budding programmer's love of tech even further.
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Since Proto Max is designed for kids ages 6 and up, he's pretty simple to program. You can set the toy's personality (small, medium or large) via a dial on the side of his head, which controls its volume and reaction to stimuli such as being petted or following a voice command. Once you download the free app (Android, iOS) on your kid's tablet, it's just a matter of dragging and dropping commands into a sequence. From there, your child can have Max perform his new tricks via remote control or the app. You can also tweak the advanced personality settings for a more personalized experience.
Once you have everything set up, your child and their new robo-friend can enjoy the mini-games pre-installed on the app. There's even a fun game to feed your pup or play fetch. And thanks to the 10 programmable activation points along Max's body, including the ears, back and nose and tail, you can pet it just like you would a real dog. Max also has over 100 eye animations for its LCD eyes and can make over 400 songs -- it's up to your child to make their perfect companion.
All in all, Proto Max could be a great gift for that budding STEM child in your life. And unlike living, breathing dogs, you don't have worry about feeding or walking it in the middle of the night, which could be a plus.