|So what's a HexBug
Nano? It's a robotic bug that skitters through a custom course in
a very buglike fashion. How's it do that? Not like you may think. Not,
for instance, by sensing its environment by advanced electronics. Not,
in fact, by sensing its environment at all. Flick the tiny switch, and
it simply vibrates, but this results in very buglike behavior. Nanos
can flip over and flip back up, "Fight" and gain dominance in the ring,
race along a custom-created course.
The course, in this case, the Habitat, is also a brilliant creation. It
consists of plastic, walled hexagonal arenas with doors in each face
that can be opened or closed. The hexagons connect to each other or to
straight and curved track pieces called "bridges" in a myriad of ways.
Although pieces easily snap together, they are quite strong and a
completed course can be picked up and carried.
The Habitat set includes two Nanos in their specimen tubes (Newton
series). The included specimens are billed on the box as "rare
mutations". Each has a unique code that can be entered on the website
to register and track your collection, which Innovation
First Labs hopes is expanding. Nanos available separately come in
various color combinations, some of which glow in the dark. They run on
a 1.5 volt watch battery which comes already installed, and are
available separately as HexBug Power Cels. The box recommendation is
for ages 3 and up.
Other Hexbug course sets include a racing track, a bridge battle set,
and a gigantic, multi-level custom course set. To create a bridge
battle with the Habitat set, simply open two or more doors in a
hexagon. A track can be made by making two identical paths, and
starting both Nanos at the same time. See more Hexbug Nano sets in the Robot Store.
left: A hex arena, enhanced with orange and blue GeoMag panels.
Center: Nanos can topple one another and sometimes right themselves.
Right: Doors in the hex panels can be closed as walls, or opened as
Below left: Nanos skitter like real bugs when they hit the walls.
Center: The Habitat set includes three hexagons, four curved bridges
and three straight bridges. The curved bridge pack, sold separately,
includes eight curved pieces, seen here on the right.
Right: A giant course made with the Habitat set and eight extra curved