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Parrot Sumo Hands-on: The Jumping Bean of Robots

The Parrot Sumo might not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but as far as toy robots go it comes the closest.

The Sumo, from French mobile device- and drone-make Parrot, is a small wheeled robot controlled via a smartphone or tablet app. Over a Wi-Fi connection, users can drive the Sumo by tapping and swiping on their mobile touchscreen or tilting the device to send the Sumo zipping about on its two wheels and executing tight on the spot turns. Parrot hasn't announced a price or a specific release date yet, but said it should be available in the first half of 2014.

But the Sumo's coolest feature is its ability to jump about 2.5 feet into the air, which it accomplishes via a spring-loaded tail protruding from the device's body. Hard landings aren't a problem for it either; the Sumo's large tires absorb shocks, and the device can right itself using its internal gyroscope.

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We checked out the Parrot Sumo at CES 2014 in Las Vegas. Unlike its namesake, this Sumo doesn't fight, but it does look sturdy enough to survive its jumps and high speeds.

The Sumo also has an onboard camera that streams live video to the mobile app controlling it, so you can get a first-person view of the Sumo's spins, flips and jumps as you put it through its paces.

Parrot said the Sumo should have about 20 minutes of battery life, and the Wi-Fi connection between the toy and the mobile device controlling it should work at up to 160 feet.

If you're looking for a high-tech toy that's fun for both kids and adults, the Parrot Sumo might be for you.

Email jscharr@techmedianetwork.com or follow her @JillScharr and Google+.  Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+.