is now powering

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"Two of our favorite robot companies are teaming up to
make intelligent little robots that you can actually buy"

Read the story at IEEE Spectrum


Robots with playful artificial intelligence


Bots Alive turns remote-controllable toys into playful, smart, and autonomous creatures



Playful immersion in advanced STEM


The curiosity-driven play of bots_alive aims to build a passion in children for human-centered design, technology, engineering, and math. 

While other robot products on the market aim to teach children to code, bots_alive strives to inspire.


How does it work?


It all started at the MIT Media Lab with a goal to create robots whose behavior appears more alive than any other machine you've even interacted with.


Artificial Intelligence

Robot creatures controlled by a new, more lifelike kind of character artificial intelligence.


Computer Vision

Your phone's camera sees the bots and nearby vision blocks.


Augmented Reality

The world as the robot sees it, shown on your phone.

What can they do?


bots_alive turns remote-controlled Hexbug® Spiders into playful, smart, and autonomous creatures


Be Autonomous

Your own robot scampering around, making its own decisions.


2 Bots Play

One kit for two robots! They’ll play together and compete.


Learn & Grow

Its personality and skills will change with interaction.

What's in the kit?


Coupled with your Hexbug® Spider and smartphone, the kit includes everything you'll need to bring your robot creature to life. 

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Vision Blocks & Markers

A decal for the Hexbug® Spider and vision blocks to build obstacle courses with.


IR Blaster

Gives your phone to control of the Hexbug® Spiders.


Companion App

Your guide for playing with the robot. iOS and Android compatible.


About us

bots_alive's vision is to develop simple, animal-like robots that seem alive. Our first product brings robots alive through a combination of your smartphone, a Hexbug® Spider (made by Innovation First International), and our      bots_alive kit.

We are based in Austin and are led by Dr. Bradley Knox, who researched human-robot interaction and artificial intelligence at the MIT Media Lab and at UT Austin after studying psychology at Texas A&M. bots_alive is supported by a National Science Foundation SBIR grant.


Recent Press


...could be the most fulfilling $35 you’ve ever spent on a robot.
— Evan Ackerman, IEEE Spectrum
...watch your Hexbug Spider come to life in a very organic manner and then try to work its way out of the various mazes and obstacles you created.
— Dan Nessel, Huffington Post
...lifelike behavior through a simple and elegant modification of a popular existing robot... simple pieces makes less-than-simple play.
— Devin Coldwey, Techcrunch