Although Solarbotics is primarily a cool-device, kit-company, we do get some requests for robots that people just want to use. And the Thymio II is about the most-ready-to-use robot out of a box we've seen! Additionally, it has a very strong open-source aspect making it easy to hack. We are very pleased to be their Canadian distributor for this very well engineered robot platform.
The Mobsya Thymio ("Tee-myoo") II is a project designed with EPFL (the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne), and is now produced and sold by the Swiss non-profit organization, Mobsya. EPFL is the same organization that produced the first really serious research robots called the Khepera. I remember aching to get one of these super-cool, small robots in the late 1990's after seeing some really interesting machine learning experiments done with them. In short, the people behind the Thymio have an excellent pedigree in robot design! They spent a huge amount of effort exploring what makes a robot fun and educational, and distilled that into the Thymio II. And it's been used in some pretty interesting research (traffic simulations!)
Check out these features, and review some of the impressive abilities that the Thymio has to offer.
The Solarbotics Sumovore Kit is a strong, modular design with over 500 man-hours of development and 21 prototypes behind it. It has more power, speed, and is less expensive than the Junun Mark III, Parallax Mini-Sumo, and Tab SumoBot.
For true DIY, hack the included cassette mechanism into a solar-powered device using the high performance Miller Solarengine which converts light into impressive bursts of energy! Rapid fire, SCC2433-MSE version.
We've had an eye on this Vishay sensor for a while - smart, tidy, and small. Thanks to SparkFun for breaking it out so you can use this to measure ambient light, and physical proximity in a single sensor!