[OLLO] Kids Tech Review

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2010/04/08 09:18 Hit 10,981



Review: OLLO Construction Kits

Written on Mar 15, 2010 by RuthJS and filed under Featured, Reviews, Robotis

Some of the coolest toys I found at Toy Fair were the OLLO construction kits.  They resemble a cross between an Erector? set and K’nex? with some LEGO? mixed in for good measure.  Currently, there are just three sets available in the USA at three levels of sophistication and at three price points.  But, this is a good start, and I see this toy becoming a real hit.

OLLO Figure and Action

OLLO Figure and Action Kits


The OLLO line was created by Robotis, a robotic technology innovator from Korea who focuses on robotic learning at all levels, from the very simple (OLLO) to the extremely complex (BIOLOID).  OLLO is brand new to the US market and is poised to make a significant splash in the tech toy space here.

Currently, three OLLO sets are being marketed in the US: Figure, Action, and Bug. The figure set is recommended for ages 7+, retails around $20, and contains basic building pieces with no robotics.  The Action set is recommended for ages 8+, retails for around $30, and  contains building bits along with a basic motor powered by one AA battery.  The Bug set is recommended for ages 12+, retails around $100 and adds a remote control, object detection, and it can follow a dark line drawn on the ground.  Based on complexity and sophistication and considering other similar products on the market, the age ranges and pricing are absolutely appropriate for what you get.

I was lucky enough to play with both the OLLO Action and the OLLO Figure sets.  That said, I will gear this review to the more “tech” of the two simply because I write for Kids Tech Review.  And, to get us started, here’s a video of the dinosaur I made with the OLLO Action.  Too bad the Emmys are over . . .

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Out of the Box

Sold in convenient carrying cases, each OLLO set comes with a variety of pieces and the instructions to make several different creations.

OLLO Action Open Case

The building bits come in multiple colors, the larger building pieces look somewhat like honeycomb while the connectors resemble confetti.  (Please note, I do NOT recommend using them as confetti.  You will NEVER find all the pieces . . . Don’t ask how I know.)

Some of the OLLO Bits From the Action Kit

Rivet Fasteners

The building pieces are secured together using a unique rivet technology where a pin is inserted into a housing that is then pressed into the grid to lock pieces together.  Right, that was my description, next are the pictures which are worth those thousand (or so) words.

OLLO Pin, Housing, and Grid Apart

OLLO Pin and Housing in Grid

Inserting the rivets into the housing is a one-time-deal, if you do it correctly.  If you line the bumps of the pin up with the grooves on the housing, they snap together and can be easily inserted and removed from your creation with little effort.

OLLO Pin and Housing Detail

This is what my 8-year-old did instinctively.  In contrast, if you barbarically force the pin into the housing with no regard for bumps and grooves, you end up frustrated when your pieces fall apart or when you try to disassemble a creation and the bits stick.  This is what I did instinctively.


Fortunately, there is a handy little tool that can help those of us who rush into OLLO building projects without thinking.  I haven’t figured out all the applications of this tool, but the rounded point is very helpful in dislodging housings that have been separated from their pins due to user error.  :)


The same end can be used to push down and lock pins that are in spots which are hard to access.

OLLO Tool in a Tight Spot

Additionally, the hook end is designed to unlock pins and pry the whole pin/housing ensemble out of the grid pieces.

OLLO Tool Hooking a Pin

This all-in-one tool is really well designed  and very easy to use.

Beyond the basic building pieces and rivets, the Action set sports wheels, rubber bands, a motor, a switch, and a battery housing that can be attached to add movement to your invention.  Of course, I can’t photograph these items separately right now because they are part of the 3-eyed bug that my son has made.  I will, however, include a video of said bug.

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I should also note that once I showed my 8-year-old son how to use the tool, he has been creating his own bugs, robots, animals, etc. non-stop with no problems.  He loves this toy, and has asked if he can have a Figure, an Action, and a Bug set for his birthday.

What Can I Create?

Well, what can you imagine?  As with other toy kits that are based on building blocks that fit together, there is no limit to the number of creations you can make with OLLO.  Robotis includes a picture-based instruction book with each set that has step-by-step instructions to assemble 5 (for the Action set) or 6 (for the Figure set) figures to get you started.

OLLO Instruction Samples

In addition, Robotis includes pictures of even more finished products as well as web addresses that lead to step-by-step instructions which are both printable and usable online.

OLLO Online Figure Options

Frankly, this is very forward thinking of Robotis since they can update the online instructions adding more options while not paying for printing costs, making this toy an even better value.

In a Nutshell

The OLLO creation kits by Robotis are fun and educational.  This series seamlessly incorporates concepts of physics and mechanics with age-appropriate play while encouraging creativity.  OLLO is priced right and will grow with your child, making this toy a hands down favorite and Editor’s Choice.

5 out of 5 stars

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