Today for Tech Tuesday I’m taking you over to Sphero and sharing their awesomeness. If you haven’t seen their robots in action, they are ah-MAZ-ing. They have won numerous awards for Sphero, their first robot:
and have just kept going. In fact, in April 2015, they announced that they have been partnering with Disney on the robotics end of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens and designed the BB-8 robot.
Their robots are incredible, and are perfect for library world, whether you work in the public, school, academic or special sphere. There are numerous applications- you just have to apply your imagination.
Sphero has two different base models:
Sphero, their round robot that is completely app-enabled and ready to go
Ollie, made for off-road rough and tumble obstacle and racing.
The differences are pretty obvious side-by-side:
The original model, Sphero, is aimed more for younger users, and as such, would be better suited for public and school libraries. With Sphero, you’re using already created apps and free lessons from the company to challenge and motivate the tweens and teens, along with programming that you create to tie into what is already provided. STEM lessons range from building bridges and obstacle courses to percentages and variables to sensors and geometry. There are games and program apps also built in, so you’re not limited to what is pre-set within the SPRK lessons, either, but if you’re not tech-savvy or just want to have something right out of the box to show off, they’re excellent to start with.
Ollie is more advanced, and is better aimed at those serving tweens and older aged patrons, but there’s no end cap of ages. Think about the last time you were at a science museum that had hands-on exhibits- weren’t the adults just as intrigued with the robotics as the kids? With Ollie (and his new evil twin Darkside), you get a more advanced tool to use for tweens and teens- meaning there’s more set-up on your end and more thought for the programs. Do you want straight racing, and have them customize their robot? Do you want them to set up obstacle courses? Or set up a full programming course through the app-based Macrolab? Ollie and Darkside are made more for racing and programming, and are aimed at the older age groups; it shows in the fact that the SPRK education materials (aimed for elementary and middle school ages) are all for Sphero.
Both robots are $130 (with Ollie being $99), and can be customized above and beyond the original set with different colors and other accessorizes. You can find Ollie and Sphero currently at other sites (but not Darkside); however, if you register with Sphero, you can get education discounts and classroom packs that are not available through other sites.
There are tons of possibilities to be had with Sphero robots- the only question is, what do you want to play today?