What programmable robot do you know that is super durable and can withstand dog jaws, kicks from toddlers, and adventures in the high seas? Sphero SPRK+ is more than a remote-control toy, though its precision is impressive; more than a source of multiplayer electronic games, though you'll be missing out if you don't investigate at least some of them; and more than a hand-held controller for app-based games.
Programming Your Robot Ball from Your Smartphone
Sphero SPRK+ is a robot that you can dynamically program via your smartphone, computer, or tablet. And as much fun as Sphero SPRK+ is, as home educators we find ourselves primarily interested in its incredibly easy-to-use, yet boundlessly functional programming app, website, and lessons.
Sphero Edu App - Programming Streamlined
Get started by downloading the Sphero Edu app. With this app, your child will learn principles of coding and then put them into action with fun experiments.
1. Beginners can draw a line on the screen for Sphero to act out.
2. Intermediate learners can use Scratch coding, a simple drag-and-drop block coding language. Scratch coding will teach your children procedural thinking and basic programming skills by allowing them to arrange commands and settings in any combination they choose. Very easy to learn, block-based coding makes programming simple.
Step-by-Step Lessons, and Fun STEM Challenges
Sphero Community Rich with Creative Ideas
Additionally, your student can browse the Sphero community to spark his creative thinking and try new programs, created by Sphero or by students just like him. Your student can try the programs provided by the Sphero team or community to get an idea of what his robot can do, and can fine-tune the code to get his desired result, gaining valuable knowledge for when he creates programs from scratch. Sphero also works with Apple’s Swift Playgrounds app, bringing the coding of games such as Pong into the world of real robots. Parents will want to be aware that some activities across Sphero’s platforms may not be for all families, as a few have themes such as fortune telling, etc.
Play Games with Others or Challenge Yourself
And when your student is done with school for the day, Sphero SPRK+ is ready to party. The multitude of free apps, coupled with high-tech hardware inside - Bluetooth SMART, LED light, compass, multi-axis gyroscope, and accelerometer - make Sphero SPRK+ an amazing addition to any home. In addition to the programmable and remote-control apps to use with Sphero SPRK+, there are also single- and multi-player game apps. There is a golf app that lets you set up a mini golf course around your house and yard, and then swing your smartphone like a golf club to send the Sphero SPRK+ rolling down the greenway. There are video game apps and interactive games - the possibilities are vast!
Pet-proof, Waterproof, and Just Plain Tough
Created from tough polycarbonate, Sphero SPRK+ is waterproof, pet-proof, and shock-proof. And everything is wireless, from the inductive charging to the streamlined Bluetooth SMART pairing. The reliable Bluetooth connection works up to about 100 feet with no perceptible lag between commands and execution, and the connection turns off after about five minutes of non-use to conserve the lithium polymer battery.
Ready for Acrobatics
With top speeds of just under 5 miles per hour, Sphero SPRK+ will get your family pet up and moving as he chases it around the room. Or watch it grab some air time, as it makes impressive jumps off the two plastic ramps that come with the Sphero SPRK+. If you live near a body of water, take Sphero SPRK+ for a swim. To make it move even better in water, an optional silicone rubber cover, available separately, provides traction in water and on off-road terrain.
Experiment with Sensors
Visual graphs in the Sphero Edu app display the real-time value of Sphero’s gyroscope, accelerometer, and location sensors. See the accelerometer data rise and fall as you throw Sphero SPRK+ like a baseball, or build a maze and track real-world location, distance, and speed. Visualizing Sphero’s data has never been easier!
Setting up Sphero is straightforward. Plug the base into a wall outlet, set Sphero in the cradle, and a blue LED will light up. The ball takes about three hours to charge fully, and a full charge yields over an hour of playtime. Then pair it to your Apple, Android™, Kindle, Chrome, Windows, or Mac device via Bluetooth SMART.
The Tech Details
Your student can use this versatile, programmable, go-anywhere, do-anything, high-tech robot as a tool to engage in multiple areas of critical thinking and programming. The Sphero Edu platform supports over a dozen different languages, see below for a full list. Sphero SPRK+ works with both iOS and Android as well as Kindle, Chrome, Windows, and Mac devices including:
Apple iOS - Requires iOS 9+ and a device that has the newer Bluetooth SMART (iPad 2 and older do not have Bluetooth SMART)
Android™ - Requires 4.4+ and Bluetooth SMART
Kindle - Requires Fire 2015, HD 6-7-8-10, HDX 8.9
Chrome - Requires Chrome 50+
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What's in the box?
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Awards and Endorsements:
Parent Tested Parent Approved: Winner
Tillywig Toy Awards: Sterling Fun Award Winner
Entrepreneur 100 Brilliant Companies: Invention 2012
Parents' Choice Recommended
The National Parenting Center Seal of Approval
Dr. Toy's Best Vacation Winner
2014 Webby Award Connected Products Honoree
Popular Mechanics: "Just try prying it out of your kids hands - we dare you."
gearburn: "A great new take on smart toys for smartphones - and big kids of all ages will love it."
Macworld: "If you're looking for a nerdy activity to share with your kids - Sphero lets you have a ball."
YAHOO! Tech: "They'll learn to code and have a ball doing it."
WIRED: "More compelling, more interactive and... just plain more fun."
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