Avengers: Endgame, the culmination of Marvel's series of comic book movies spanning the last decade, opens next week (Apr 24).
Like most blockbuster movies, the merchandise tie-ins for the new Avengers film are arriving thick and fast such as UBTech's latest toy robot - the Iron Man MK50. It gives fans the chance to role-play as Tony Stark, aka Iron Man.
At first glance, this Iron Man robot, which stands at around 30cm tall, looks like a large action figure. It can adopt a pose as its arms, head and waist can be manually adjusted by hand when the robot is turned off.
However, it is equipped with various sensors, including light, motion and infrared sensors. For instance, the infrared sensors at the bottom of its feet detect the edges of surfaces to prevent it from falling off a table. It also has a microphone that picks up your voice commands.
The robot connects with a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth using itsIron Man MK50 Robot app (available for Android and iOS). A recent mobile device that supports augmented reality (AR) for the included AR game is recommended.
The app lets you control the robot via on-screen controls on a mobile device. By tapping on the screen, you can turn his head, move his arms or simply make the robot walk forwards or backwards.
The robot struggles to walk on smooth surfaces like a marble floor - UBTech recommends flat, slightly textured surfaces.
The app also comes with a bunch of pre-recorded sequences with the voices of Tony Stark and Friday, the suit's artificial intelligence program. During these snippets, the robot may wave its hands or move its head, depending on how it was programmed.
Entertaining pre-recorded sequences
Simple introduction to coding
They are entertaining enough, with Stark's trademark quips and snappy dialogue. My three-year-old son found a specific snippet in which Tony Stark falls asleep in the suit and starts snoring extremely funny.
You can even put yourself in the Iron Man suit. The robot's faceplate opens up to reveal a small LCD screen. Using the mobile app, you can record a short video of yourself (around 5 seconds) and upload it to the robot to play back on this screen.
Also included in the app is an AR game that takes in your surroundings using the smartphone camera and builds a virtual play area over it for the game. So if someone walks past this play area during the game, he or she can be spotted in the app.
It takes a few minutes to set up this AR game - the robot has to be placed on a special mat (included in the package) so that the app can locate it.
The game lets you play as Iron Man as he fights drones in a training simulator. You sit behind the Iron Man robot and tap on the smartphone display to target enemies and fire Iron Man's weapons. The robot itself responds based on your actions in the game, like raising the hands to fire off a shot. But to my disappointment, it cannot move away from the mat.
PLATFORMS: iOS (version 11 and above) and Android (version 7 and above)
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
However, for most of the time, I was too busy looking at my smartphone to focus on what the robot was doing. The game itself is quite a challenge and requires you to use Iron Man's various weapons to take down waves of enemies.
UBTech says the Iron Man robot is for those aged 14 and above. Part of the reason is probably because you can create your own custom script to control the robot.
By dragging and dropping instructions using an editing tool in the app, you can create a script with multiple actions, perhaps one that makes the robot dance. This script can be tied to a voice command, so that the robot executes these actions upon hearing the voice command.