I first got a chance to play with a Sphero back in 2013. The robotic toy ball was fun and a unique twist on remote controlled vehicles. Fast forward to 2016, and Sphero is a household name! Their partnership with Star Wars turned the ball into the BB-8 (which continues to be a popular seller). In fact, they’ve been pushing the BB-8 with ‘FORCE’ control a lot this year at Best Buy. Going in a slightly different direction, the Sphero SPRK+ focuses on entertaining education.
Sphero SPRK+ is a mix of Coding and Fun
The Sphero SPRK+ has inductive charging (you place it on the pad and it charges immediately). It has a 60-minute battery life, and it has a top speed of 7.25 km/h. It also added a scratch resistant UV coating this year to keep the clear ball in perfect condition. Where the education element starts is in the Lightning Lab app. The app enables and teaches the user some basic coding. You can program Sphero SPRK+ to go in a direction, turn, come back, flash any colour in the rainbow and more. While the coding language is in a kid-friendly fashion, it is quite robust with deep control.
Where it gets more fun is that you can upload your codings, and download others. You can attempt challenges, and mazes and more. It is highly interactive and gives anyone using it an introduction to coding. While it’s great for kids (age 8+), I personally had a lot of fun with it. I also think that experienced coders could do some unique things with it that my basic brain cannot imagine. But all the building blocks are there for this to be an amazing tool.
Other features of the Sphero SPRK+ are a gyroscope, accelerometer and it’s full colour spectrum LED lights. It connects through Bluetooth SMART with a range of about 30 meters. The design itself is both shockproof AND waterproof – so feel free to take it into the pool.
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Disclosure: Techmas is something that I personally put together. As early as September I start making contact with brands to see if they are interested. They don’t pay me. What they do provide me with is a unit to unbox, and one to giveaway.