EZ-Robot Kit, $235
The EZ-Robot Complete Kit is something of a dream come true for hobby roboticists. It’s a hefty set of parts — a very robust robot control board with lots of I/O and servo ports, six servomotors, sensors, a wireless camera, 2 rubber wheels, mounting hardware — that you can use to turn just about anything into a robot (R/C vehicles, motorized “dumb” robot toys, little sister’s doll collection). And the great downloadable software interface (unfortunately Windows-only) makes it easy to program and control your bots. Combine this with one of our robot platform kits and you’re well on your way to creating the race of intelligent machines that are going to rise up one day and take over the world.