A Stormtrooper robot with facial recognition technology

You can build your own army of tiny Stormtrooper robots, but they come with a hefty price tag

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A happy result of living in the golden age of robotics is the toys. As a dad, I'm pretty stoked to have an excuse to play with the next generation of 'bots for tots.

This pint-sized Stormtrooper from Chinese firm UBTECH looks like a winner, and it's a sign of how toys are changing as the cost of sensors falls.

The robot, which retails for $299.99 and is available through Amazon or Best Buy, features augmented reality (AR) capabilities via an accompanying app, voice command, facial recognition, and sentry patrolling.

The facial recognition is particularly cool, and certainly a feature that wouldn't have been possible just a couple years ago. It allows for customized interactions as the robot learns the facial biometrics of up to three different people.

Of course this a toy for (... ahem) kids. UBTECH is quick to point out that the robot doesn't connect to the internet and lives within a closed network, alleviating some of the security concerns associated with any toy that collects potentially sensitive data.

UBTECH has found a niche in STEM-themed robots for kids, including its popular Alpha robot. The idea is that children can get early hands-on experience with programming and hardware while playing with cool toys.

The Stormtrooper robot is the latest sign of the firm's aggressive North American expansion.

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