Bugs are amazing. However, they do not make good pets. They can get out and get lost. Finding the proper food for them can be difficult. On top of that, they are wild creatures that probably should not be kept in captivity.
Hexbug Nanos, on the other hand, make excellent pets. They stay still when they aren’t turned on. They only require batteries, not food, and they can do a range of really amazing things that you would be lucky to see an actual bug do. We wrote this Hexbug Nano review to give you an idea of what to expect when you buy one.
What Is a Hexbug Nano?
Hexbug Nanos are gravity-defying Micro robotic insects from Innovation First. They can avoid obstacles, skitter quickly across hard, flat surfaces and climb upward when faced with an incline. Perhaps most amazingly, they do all this while being only about three inches long.
Innovation First, the company that makes the Hexbug Nano, is a leader in educational robotics kits that people can build themselves and robotics components. They have been in business since 1996, and believe that innovation is necessary very early in the design process to produce simple, elegant product designs.
What’s In the Tube?
- Hexbug Nano Robotic Toy
- Instruction sheet
Hexbug Nano packaging is some of the most unique out there. Each Nano can come in a variety of packaging. The standard packaging for a Hexbug Nano is a clear plastic tube with a colored stopper in the end. Opening this packaging is easy. Simply remove the tape and pull out the stopper. Your Hexbug slides right out.
The benefit of this type of packaging is that it is reusable. Simply slide your Hexbug back into their tube when you’re done playing and reinsert the stopper.
There are, however, several other types of Hexbug packagings. Some are sold in your standard blister packs. Simply pull the plastic off the cardboard and you have your Hexbug free.
Christmas Hexbugs are multicolored and come in their own special Christmas ornaments. They also have detachable reindeer antlers.
Halloween Hexbugs come in coffins, and have glow-in-the-dark skeleton or zombie designs.
Finally, Easter hex bugs are green and blue, have detachable bunny ears and come inside their own Easter eggs.
Hexbug Nanos come in a variety of designs and colors, depending upon what series you happen to get. Some are pastel, some glow in the dark and some are monochromatic or may have other paint details.
There are even exclusive Hexbugs that aren’t readily available, like this Transformers Bumblebee variety. These were only available through Loot Crate.
But no matter how your Hexbug Nano looks, there are some things that they all have in common. Each Hexbug Nano is about three inches long, or about the length of a human thumb.
They are about an inch wide and resemble small cockroaches or other scurrying insects. They have two tiny, stubby antenna-like protrusions on the front of their heads and a curved divot at the other end. These are used for avoiding obstacles. Each Hexbug Nano also has two rows of six thin rubber legs, one row on either side of its body, with which it scurries around. They also have a point directly in the middle of their backs.
Hexbugs are made of durable plastic and can be dropped without incident. In fact, dropping one up-side-down reveals its most amazing feature.
How Do They Work?
Inside each Hexbug Nano is a powerful little motor. The motor spins a counterweight that creates two forces, an upward and a downward force. The downward force causes the Hexbug’s legs to bend, and the upward force causes them to unbend. This bending and unbending repeats several hundred times a second, causing the Hexbug to skitter forward. The antennas and the divot on their rear end helps them avoid obstacles.
The forces created by the motor and the unique chassis design of the Nano creatures also allows for what we feel to be their greatest feature. If you drop or flip a Hexbug Nano up-side-down, it will right itself every time as long as the surface is hard. This is what the point on its back is used for. The hex bug, due to this point, will not be stable up-side-down, and the counterweight will cause it to flip.
Hexbugs can also climb vertically between two evenly-spaced plates or tube walls by skittering up them. This can be a lot of fun to watch, a bit like watching ants in an ant farm.
Hexbug Nanos take one LR44/AG13 battery located in the bottom. These batteries are included with your purchase, so you don’t have to install them. Depending on how much you play with your Nano, these batteries can be incredibly long-lasting, and if you need more, Innovation First sells packages of batteries just for your Hexbug, though any commercial brand of LR44 button-cell batteries will also work.
Changing the batteries in a Hexbug Nano is simple. Simply unscrew the battery compartment on the bottom of the Hexbug and slide in the battery according to the directions. This should always be done by an adult.
The Hexbug Nano gets a surprising amount of speed for such a tiny bug. We kept having to chase ours down as it tried to run off the table. In this regard, it is very much like a real insect.
Hexbug Nanos contain a powerful motor inside. This allows them to climb up vertical walls much like an actual insect.
Wide Variety of Designs
Hexbug Nanos come in a wide variety of designs and color patterns and some even glow in the dark. There is definitely going to be a Hexbug Nano for you.
Though not sold with your Hexbug Nano, the company does make habitat sets for these little bugs. These sets are buildable construction sets, configurable in any manner you can think of. These sets greatly increase the play value of your Hexbug Nano, as you can design obstacle courses, tracks for them to run on, vertical shafts for them to climb up and hives for them to live in.
However, you don’t necessarily need the habitat sets. If you use your imagination, you can design a habitat set or obstacle course using items found around your house. In this way, a Hexbug Nano will spark your imagination.
Simplicity of Use
Though Hexbug Nanos are designed for children ages six and up, they can be used by younger ones with adult supervision. Operation of a Hexbug Nano is simple. Just flip the switch on the bottom of your bug, set it down and watch it zoom around.
That’s the end of our Hexbug Nano review! Hexbug Nanos are a lot of fun for a relatively inexpensive price. They are small enough to fit in a pocket or to trade with your friends. Obstacle courses and habitats are also easy to construct them.
However, their size can also be a downside. If your Nano gets away from you, it may be hard to find them again, especially if they manage to get to the floor. They are small enough to vanish under furniture or behind it, and you may find yourself having to rearrange your room to find them, just like with an actual bug loose in your house.
Overall though, if you are careful not to lose them, Hexbugs are a fun, imaginative robot pet for almost anyone.