gadg-et-oid [gaj-it-oid]


1. having the characteristics or form of a gadget;
resembling a mechanical contrivance or device.

HexBug Toy Motorised Bugs Reviewed

Christmas is coming, the goose is presumably getting fat, and you’re no doubt starting to get that Christmas shopping itch. If you’ve got an empty stocking to fill, then here’s a little helping hand; pop in a HexBug.

HexBugs are an interesting yet simple concept, comprising a range of motorised bugs of varying shapes and sizes, with some being remote control. They offer a decent range of bugs at different price points and are generally a good lark as a desk toy or for household shenanigans.

I took a look at the HexBug ant, and HexBug Nano, generously provides by Both of these are “autonomous” ( I wasn’t lucky enough to get my hands on a remote control one! ) to varying degrees.

The HexBug Nano, as the name might suggest, is small. It’s also fairly dumb as far as its autonomy is concerned. It basically takes a little watch battery which does nothing but vibrate a tiny motor. It might sound dull, but the result is a robotic bug which glides over desks as if it were alive, is somehow self-righting and somehow even manages to rebound off obstacles. Don’t be fooled, though, there’s no clever circuitry to make it do these things. Just a cleverly designed and incredibly simple little bug with a plethora of silicone legs.

The HexBug Ant is a bit more complex, involving 6 wheels, rebound sensors on the front disguised as antennae and a rebound sensor on the back. The Ant zooms around on most surfaces, turning or rebounding when it detects a collision and continuing on its merry way.

Without remote control, it falls upon the user to construct an elaborate maze, series of ramps or other obstacle course for these bugs to navigate. Doing so is undeniably satisfying, making them perfect for keeping the kids quiet until the big presents come out.

If you or your kids aren’t imaginative enough to construct your own bug “habitat” out of household items, then you can also pick up a HexBug Habitat Set in which you can race the little blighters, or just watch them carelessly vibrate their way around.

At £10.99 for the Ant, and £8.99 for the Nano, they definitely err on the side of pricey. But the set isn’t too bad, containing two Nano’s and the habitat for around £26.

Thursday, September 29th, 2011, Toys.