Johnny 5 is alive! Although he's shrunk considerably, and gained some new security features. A rival to Lego's Mindstorms range, once assembled Spyke trundles along on caterpillar tracks and can be ordered about with your computer – Mac or PC - using Wi-Fi.

‘Hello, Mr Burglar…’

The point? You can guide him around your house from the other side of the world, using his webcam to check you haven't been the victim of a Skins-style MySpace rave. If you have, then we suggest you use the VoIP phone to relay a polite message to them.

He comes in pieces, but snaps together in a few minutes - unlike his Lego robo-rival. On board is a digital music player but don’t expect audiophile-quality playback.

The software is a joy to use, and completely idiot-proof. On the left you see your playlist of tunes, in the centre the view from Spyke's on-board cam, and on the right sound effects and the Skype phone function. Your robot will respond with Jeeves-like efficiency to your every command.


This clever mechanoid is battery-powered, and returns to his charging dock just before his juice runs low. All in all, the Spyke is splendid value for money and far cooler than a Dalek. He can climb stairs, for a start…

Stuff says... 

Meccano Spyke review

Packed with features, works like a dream and can take pictures of your cat from the other side of the world. What more do you want?