The Sphero 2.0 Robotic Ball is an amazing little device which can be controlled via IOS and Android apps. You can even code your own programs for it to execute.
Sphero is an intelligent robotic ball that connects wirelessly to the virtual world with mobile apps, enabling new game play for mobile devices including: robotic movement, kinetic motion, controller support and augmented reality capabilities. The result is limitless possibilities for new types of gameplay that meld the virtual and real worlds for a fun gaming experience.
Accompanying the Sphero are free games and apps available for your IOS or Android device via the Apple App Store or Google Play store. Some of these apps just let you control the Sphero and drive it around, while others let you play augmented reality-style games like the Rolling Dead where you have to roll the ball into zombies. Sphero connects to mobile devices such as iPad, iPhone, and Android phones through bluetooth connections.
But the apps that will interest teachers looking for more interesting ways to introduce coding are MacroLab and OrbBasic. These apps let your students create programs to control the Sphero on a tablet or phone. Beginners can get an introduction using Sphero MacroLab to create simple, repeatable programs and macros. More advanced students have the chance to dive deeper using orbBasic – a powerful application that takes programming with Sphero to the next level. Links to both apps can be found on the Sphero Education page.
Sphero would also link well into a maths curriculum with links to 2D geometry, shapes and percentages. Lesson plans are also available on the Sphero website. For more ideas on how to use a Sphero in the classroom, take a look at this Google document set up by Alan Parkinson (@geoblogs).
For more on what a Sphero can do, watch this video:
My Sphero v2 arrived this weekend, and I’ve had a blast playing with it so far. I’ve yet to get into the coding side of it properly yet. I can see that being a blog post in its own right. For now I’m content to just drive it around the house!
Sphero is a robust bit of kit with a tough polycarbonate shell. It comes with a neat wireless induction charger and two plastic ramps for doing stunts. It paired with my iPad very quickly via Bluetooth and set up was very painless.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!