With smartphones slowly taking over our daily lives, there is that struggle to introduce unique features and applications that push the technology further. The “cool factor” of being able to control things remotely with your iPhone is nothing new, and creators Orbotix have come out with unique device that combines mixed-reality gameplay and robotics. Sphero is a robotic ball that you control with your iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) and Android devices, allowing you to move it around in any direction and use the capabilities of your device for precise and fluid movement. Based on what has been shown of the device so far, it looks very impressive indeed.
Roughly the size of a baseball, Sphero is a durable plastic ball that connects to your iOS device via Bluetooth and can be remotely controlled with both on-screen buttons and by tilting and swinging the device around. The “easy to learn, difficult to master” control of the ball is half the fun, however there are applications that can be downloaded that incorporates augmented-reality gaming as well. Some of the games are available to download for free, while other applications designed specially for Sphero will be released over time. Another interesting feature with Sphero is the integration with AirPlay and Apple TV, which would allow for gameplay on your television.
The Sphero ball can be controlled up to 50 feet away, and it will run on most surfaces, including wood floors, carpeted areas and even on the sidewalk. The currently available games include Drive, Chromo and Golf. Drive a racing game in which you create courses and challenge others to beat your time, Chromo is a simple game that tests your memory and coordination and Golf is exactly what the name implies, however you use your iOS device as the “club” by swinging it and controlling the direction. Other features of the Sphero include an internal rechargeable battery and the ability to customize the appearance of the ball by changing the colors of the LED lights.
To see a the Sphero in action, check out the video below for a cool demonstration.