You can control almost anything from your smartphone these days with the push of a button…wait, stop, don't push delete, the robot part is coming up! Yeah, that's right, phone-controlled robots: Sphero.
From a pair of CSU and UNC robotic experts, Sphero's a diminutive robotic ball made from a gyroscope, an accelerometer, and LED lights that can be rolled with pinpoint precision from a regular iPhone/iPad/Android, giving users "endless gameplay opportunities", despite there being no "B" or "A" buttons, much less Up, Down, Left, or Right ones. The $130 "baseball-sized" gadget can be controlled two ways: either with a finger swipe using a driving app that allows you to roll it in any direction (plus "boost" it ahead racing-style), or by wielding the smartphone Wii-like in pre-set games like Golf, as it admittedly is the most fun of Volkswagen's mid-sized hatchbacks. If hitting the virtual links (where, by the way, you can see metrics of how hard your swing is) isn't your thing, there's also a "Kittycam" game where you try to video your cat whilst he chases the Sphero, and one in which you have to crush virtual, randomly popping-up zombies, just in case the whole nerd thing wasn't covered by you endlessly playing with a robot.
For developer types (and if you're reading this in Boulder, that's you!), they've also got a free API you can nerd on to create your own games -- speaking of which, wouldn't a fun one be to press the "forward" button on this email over and over again?
Published: September 13, 2011 at 4:00am EDT
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