Sphero—A New Ball Game

 

image001Sphero is an app-enabled toy and designed by a company formerly known as Orbotix.  Intelligent and well-rounded, Sphero lets students play, learn, and explore by creating obstacle courses and creating multifamily games.  It is also waterproof, pet-proof, and ready for any adventure.

 

This globe is charged wirelessly from its own charging base, and is covered with polycarbonate synthetic material.  It is also manipulated using a tablet or Smartphone that runs on Android, iOS or Windows Phone through Bluetooth.

 

Features of Sphero

Some of the major features of Sphero are:

  1. Bluetooth – It operates on apps. It connects to mobile gadgets such as  iPhones, Android phones, iPads and tablets via Bluetooth wireless network.
  2. The range of colors –It is covered with a polycarbonate synthetic material, and sheds light in any color.
  3. Rolling capability –It rolls at a fixed speed within a specified time frame.

 

To use Sphero, you can take it off its charger and tap it twice and fast so that it “comes alive.”  As soon as the robot toy wakes, it begins to flash three different colors sequentially.  Once it pairs with a Bluetooth device, it turns blue to signify that it is ready for use. It can travel on land and moves sluggishly on water. It comes integrated with an accelerometer and vibrates quietly.

 

What’s even more clever about the Sphero though are the apps that you can use it with. Orbotix has not only made around 10 of its own – mostly-free apps – available for download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play, but it’s also giving game developers a chance to come up with their own thanks to a Full API and Mobile SDK.

You can even have a stab at programming the Sphero yourself – thanks to a free Orbotix app called Sphero Macrolab (iOS / Google Play), giving it geek appeal aplenty.

 

Sphero and STEM

Educators in various fields find ways of incorporating the robot in their every-day classes. Sphero is an excellent tool for teaching the sciences, and subjects related to engineering and technology. 

 

Sphero also has a SPRK (school parents robots kids) edition designed to spark kids interest in coding and robotics.  Children can use the simplified code to make this edutoy do things like weave in and out of a complex maze or perform a dance. When students use the app and write the code, they can see the simplified language of the code or the more complex syntax. This gives educators an excellent opportunity to teach programming.

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SPRK’s approachable lesson plans empower parents and teachers to excite kids, so it’s no wonder that over 4,500 teachers in 20 countries have used SPRK to teach 90,000 students. While kids instantly gravitate to Sphero, SPRK students range from elementary school through high school grades.

 

Sphero breaks the rules about learning, and also enables students to mesh mathematics with technology.  It strengthens the STEM skills that students will need to compete in the tech industry.  The gadget geek in your life will enjoy being the first person on the block to have a remote control ball they can drive with their mobile device, which is why it’s one of the top ten best Christmas gifts.