You would never guess that a remote controlled robotic ball could be so much fun. But wrap it in a high-impact polycarbonate shell, give it wireless control from your smartphone (iOS and Android), and build an open gaming platform to support it, and you really have something truly innovative. Give Sphero a shake to turn it on, and roll it around at a brisk 3 ft /sec with precision using its internal guidance system that houses a gyro and accelerometer. Did we mention it floats and can be used in water? It also makes the perfect pet toy. Check out our video below.
With an internal RGB LED, Sphero can produce millions of different colors to provide feedback to players, from status messages when pairing your phone to representing the time remaining in a game of Pass the Sphero. It takes a little getting used to, but once you learn Sphero's language, you realize its simplicity.
Sphero is built to last for over an hour of continuous play and is charged via induction by placing it into its cradle. It's simple and just works. No fussing with charging cables. We tried pretty damn hard to kill our Sphero. We kicked it, dropped it off tables, tossed it in water, and gave it to Wallace (our black lab pitbull mix). Somehow it just kept on rolling. But it’s not the hardware that really makes Sphero an amazing device, it’s the open software platform it’s built on.
Designed to be open and to leverage the creativity of the developer community, the folks at Orbotix built a full API and mobile SDK for both iOS and Android that developers can use to build their own apps and games that use Sphero. The possibilities are truly endless and already there are many amazing games out there.
Whether you are in a group or by yourself, there is a game to enjoy with Sphero - from racing Sphero around a track, to color matching and puzzle games, to the just released augmented reality game “Sharky The Beaver”. Sharky replaces the Sphero onscreen with a cute but slightly mischievous and hungry beaver that wanders around your environment according to your fingertips. There is so much to explore with over 20 free apps and games already available.
Why We Love It
While Sphero boasts a seemingly endless set of possibilities with its open gaming platform, it manages to never lose sight of the simple addictive pleasure of being a remote controlled ball. It always has us coming back for more week after week, and with a constantly growing list of games, there’s always something new to look forward to.
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