I recently purchased a Sphero robot for my iPhone/iPad, now I want to preface this by saying this is not a sponsored post I paid all $130 with my own cold hard cash. I was instantly intrigued by the Sphero when I first heard of it as I am with just about anything iOS related. I knew that with all the technology packed into the little ball and the ability for open programming Sphero would go a long way. Hit the break for my review.
My first impression was more than I expected as I unboxed Orbotix’s Sphero. The packaging is tight and clean, very Apple-esque and includes everything you need. One Sphero Ball, charging dock and power cable. After downloading the app and syncing Sphero up to my iPhone it automatically prompted me to standby as Sphero was due for a firmware update. That was my first wow of many as I researched the update to find out the group over at Orbotix was able to send over a Firmware update that greatly improved the maneuverability and turning radius of the ball. After the update and a quick tutorial I was ready to go and so was my son who was beyond curious now after seeing all the flashing colors. Though not as agile as a RC car it was extremely responsive to the directions I gave it and after a few minutes of playing around with it I had it racing all over the place as my 9 month old chased after it in his walker.
However running the little ball around with your iPhone is just the tip of the iceberg. Sphero has over 20 different available apps for it though two of which really stood out for me. One is The MacroLab App which allows you to set up a list of commands for Sphero to autonomously execute. Each command can be as detailed or basic as you want it to be. You can put in a command for Sphero to turn at a certain angle for x amount of time. I did one setup that allows me to place Sphero on my desktop and he moves forward, strobes his lights, spins in place and then circles back to his starting point. It’s fun to watch and the more you play with it the more advanced commands you can learn.
The other App is SpaceParty with Nyan Cat oh yes that’s right are favorite PopTart, Rainbow Farting cat now has bacon blasters to shoot dizzy sheep and drooling ghosts in space. Best part is you completely control your Nyan Cat with Sphero. Full control functions take a little getting used to but is very similar to a Wii controller.
Sphero has a long road ahead of it, I believe with app developers working on projects to use it with and the group over at Orbotix not only creating new software and firmware but Sphero accessories to. One rumored accessory is a cage with a camera that Sphero can troll around, though Sphero is both durable and waterproof I’d love to see some type of tight fitting clear rubber, shock absorbing shell that would maybe allow Sphero to battle with other Sphero’s or just make it more durable. No matter the case Sphero is a great product, at a $130 it’s pricey but well worth it! You can grab yours now from the Geeks over at ThinkGeek.