Last year I had the privilege of playing with Sphero, a crazy little robot ball that you controlled with your smartphone or tablet. It was basically what TV promised us toys of the future would look like- alongside jetpacks and hoover boards. Sphero could roll around and flash colours and was a great way to dazzle small children and cats. Sadly spending £99 on something that replicates the functionality of a ball of wool or keys was prohibitively expensive. The makers of Sphero did create an awesome SDK that enabled programmers to expand Sphero’s potential but that required a lot of additional work on the users behalf (having to seek out other apps) and hard not to imagine quite a few Spheros gathering dust 12 months later.
Well Sphero is back and more Sphero than ever. Although Sphero looks like the same old Sphero, this is not your grandfather’s Sphero. It’s Sphero (2.0). New Sphero can reach speeds of up to 7 feet per second. Interestingly, it doest reach this speeds instantly – you have to level up as you play with the ball, which is an interesting way of bringing video game logic into the real world. It also stops you from getting bored with Sphero and hooks you in for a lot longer. The more efficient drive chain and lower center of gravity means this little guy can really zip along. And the go-faster stripes aren’t the only part of the make over – the new multicolour LEDs make Sphero 2.0 three times brighter than the Sphero of yesteryear.
Sphero also does more – literally of the box. The new Sphero comes with two ramps do you can make Eddie the Eagle Edwards proud. Worried about launching your expensive new toy at speed into the air. Sphero says “relax, I can take it”. But just in case you don’t believe Sphero you can encase Sphero in Nubby, protective all-terrain covers that provide more traction when going outdoors and calming your heart about the leaps you put the little fellow through.
One of the best things about Sphero was the wide world of software available to play around with – you’re not just scooting a ball around a cat. The new update brings this a lot more to the fore with augmented reality apps, racecourses, multiplayer games and simple programming.
Sphero 2.0 will be available worldwide starting 4th September, 2013 for £99.99. For more visit GoSphero.com