Sphero Meets Sharky the Beaver

Sphero LogoGNC first saw Sphero at CES last year and it’s a really cool toy: a rugged waterproof ball controlled from a smartphone or tablet. So what has Sphero been up to in the past year…Todd and Don find out from Ian Bernstein, CTO Founder.

While the  hardware is unchanged from last year, Sphero has grown the number and type of companion apps from around 5 apps to over 20 with several produced by third parties. New on the scene is a mixed reality app which uses the tablet or smartphone’s camera to track Sphero and overlay Sharky the Beaver on the device’s screen. It’s particularly fun as the real-world interaction with Sphero creates a relationship with the cartoon character which makes it that bit more believable.

Sphero works with both iOS and Android devices, and retails for around $130. Lots of fun and there’s an SDK if you feel like rolling your own (sorry!)

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Control Sphero From Your Smartphone

Scott gets a demo of Orbotix‘s Sphero from Adam, one of the company’s founders. At first glance, Sphero is a robotic ball remotely controlled from a smartphone or tablet. Yes, I was kind of underwhelmed too, but fortunately, it’s a bit more than that. To start with, Sphero is as much a game development platform as it is a product and second, while you can move the ball as you’d expect, you can also get information back from the ball.

The example given in the video is that two Spheros can recognise when they’re close or touch each other, so tag or sumo games become a possibility. Taking it further, there could be augmented reality games where you move Sphero into objects only seen on screen.

On launch, Sphero will work with iOS and Android devices with ports to other smartphone platforms in the future. Available for the 2011 holiday season for under $100. If you are interested, you can make a reservation for your own Sphero or two.

Interview by Scott Elliot for the Tech Podcast Network.

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