I love cool technology. It boggles the mind how far and how fast technology has advanced, doesn’t it? I always look forward to seeing what the next great technological advancement will be – especially one that is extra fun.
With SmartPhones and Tablets, you have so many options for interactive fun – but usually it’s just what’s on the screen. Now you can have fun with what’s on the screen, plus a way to drive your pets nuts with the cool Sphero 2.0 Robot Ball – you control this unique innovation with your SmartPhone or tablet:
The Sphero 2.0 Robot Ball is a small slightly weighted ball that you charge up, connect via Bluetooth to your preferred device (iPhone, iPad, or Android SmartPhone or Tablet), and have some great fun.
I prefer using my Android Tablet to play with it, while Princess Nagger prefers using her SmartPhone (no cracks about eyesight and age playing a part on the size difference between the two. Ahem. )
It comes with a charging dock – simply charge it up for a couple of hours, and the charge lasts around an hour of play. It’s waterproof, dirt proof, shock proof and pet proof.
It glows different colors (which is something you can control as well), and there are at least 30 different apps you can download to play with it in any number of ways.
It’s super easy to use – charge the ball, download the Sphero app, link via Bluetooth and you’re all set! To wake it up after it’s been charged, you simply whack the Sphero two times on a solid surface (though sometimes it needs an extra whack or two to wake it up – don’t we all some mornings?).
It took some practice (for me) to control the ball at first, but once you figure out movements, all bets are off. Princess Nagger had it down pat in no time. There are a nice variety of free apps available – and all of them are not unlocked at first, the makers of Sphero were smart and have built in an ‘unlocking’ feature which means you can’t access all the app’s capabilities right away; once you master certain things, it unlocks new ones.
Princess Nagger is obsessed with trying to unlock them all.
Some may lose interest simply steering Sphero around — though that itself has lasting appeal in a household like ours with kids and pets. But the apps are what make the ball truly a smart toy.
You can play golf by whacking it around into real-world objects you specify as “holes”, you can experience augmented-reality games such as Sharky the Beaver, which lets you aim your device’s camera at the ball and turn it into an on-screen critter.
Some games, such as a space shoot-em-up called the Sphero Exile, use the ball as a trackball, allowing you to spin it in space to control on-screen action. You can even program the ball yourself, creating macros that send it off on pre-set rolling adventures or which change its color in ways you specify.
There are even practical apps – Princess Nagger installed the app that allows you to use the Sphero as a measuring tape when I couldn’t find my measuring tape and wanted to measure a room to see if the dining room table we’re picking up this weekend will fit in the room I want to put it in (you know, the actual dining room vs. the room on the other side of the kitchen that’s noted as a ‘family room’).
Worked like a charm! And yes, the dining room table will fit perfectly in the actual dining room. In case you were wondering.
She had so much fun freaking the dogs out with it – Travis, our Blue Merle Sheltie got into the fun and tried to capture the ball for a good game of fetch. He was only successful capturing it when Princess Nagger took a wrong turn and lodged it under the edge of the cabinets in the kitchen.
The other two dogs seemed a little nervous by the traveling ball (and most likely Princess Nagger’s incessant cackling), choosing to avoid it like a plague and run away from the ball every time it got too close for comfort.
The cool little round robotic ball can drive in any direction, turn on a dime, flip in the air, change colors and much more. It really is a great way to integrate technology and real-time play. It even comes with two ramps to get it to catch some air while racing:
Though it has better grip and catches more air when it’s wearing its ‘nubby’ – a skin for Sphero that turns it into an all-terrain vehicle, able to travel more reliably over rough surfaces and safely through water:
The ‘nubby’ (sold separately) comes in a variety of colors, so you can pick and choose one to match your personality preference:
While there’s lots of fun to be had all around, it’s also interesting that Sphero is on a mission to make learning fun and inspire the innovators of tomorrow. Check out the Sphero SPRK (Schools, Parents, Robots, Kids) program, which helps kids understand the basics of programming, robotics and math. Visit GoSphero.com/Education for more information.
The hubby is quite intrigued by it, and plans to buy one specifically to dissect so he can have his robotic class build one out of a bowling ball. I’ll let you know how that goes. Stay tuned.
Each Sphero comes with a Quick Start guide, two ramps, a charging base, and information on how to download dozens of apps on iTunes and Google Play. It’s compatible with both iOS and Android devices. Check out some of the things it can do:
You can find Sphero at GoSphero.com, Amazon.com, the Apple Store, Brookstone, FAO Schwarz and REI. Sphero retails for $129.99, recommended for ages 8 and up, and is Princess Nagger Approved.
Note: I was honored to receive a Sphero 2.0 and Nubby to facilitate this review. No monetary compensation was received implied or otherwise. As always, the opinions are my own and not influenced by outside sources. See my disclosure policy here.