Every generation has its technological Everest. For my grandmother, it was the remote control. Any functions outside of changing the channel or controlling the volume angered and confused her. I remember many an afternoon during my teen years when I would be called to Gramma’s house to “fix” her tv. Whether it was a simple tap of the mute button or cycling through the AV input settings, Gramma would always be impressed by the speed and dexterity with which I was able to return her to her regularly scheduled programs.
It’s not like Gramma was dumb; quite the opposite. This was a woman who bought her first car with her poker winnings. Rather, she reached her technological Everest. You see, dear reader, it happens to all of us. No matter how much we pride ourselves on our ability to seamlessly adopt new technology, there will come a point where we encounter a device that escapes our best efforts to use it. No matter how many buttons we press or how hard we shake it, we lose the ability to intuit its functionality. If we’re lucky, we’ll have a grandkid to call over to fix it.
I had my Gramma moment when unboxing and playing with the Evo by Ozobot. The Evo is a cute little robot, complete with BB-8-esque robot chirps and blinking lights, that can be programmed to follow routes “programmed” by different colored markers (included) or controlled remotely through an accompanying app. The kit also comes with various stickers to personalize the little guy. In addition to the base kit, EVO users can spruce up their bot with various Marvel skins. I got Hulk.
Educational toys are my jam, but this is the first time I actually had to learn in order to use the product. From the minute I took the bot out of the box, nothing was intuitive. The little nub chirped, spun, and flashed lights like it was trying to communicate from the upside-down, but it did little to indicate that I was in control. For the first time in my life, I felt Gramma’s pain. Fortunately, I have an 8-year-old nephew who also has one, and he was able to walk me through the process of coding this little guy to follow my commands.
I’m happy to say that Evo by Ozobot took me close to my technological Everest, but the march of progress hasn’t trampled me yet. Overall, this is a fun, innovative little toy that teaches kids — and some adults — the rudiments of coding. I’ll be interested in the next generation of Evos who might be able to do more complex tasks. As for me, I’m just happy I could make it do this.