Sphero Beer Pong

06 Jul 2011

Every Friday afternoon at the Orbotix office things get very interesting. More often than not, laughter or strange noises lure us from our offices and out into the Sphero driving area. Take for instance the sawing noises we heard this past Friday that had us wondering what our crazy software guys were up to. As it turns out, they were making a SpherePong table to go along with the Sphero Beer Pong app they had just created during what they like to call Hack Fridays.

We get burnt out fixing bugs and marching to the beat of the drum day in and day out, so at the end of the day on Friday we like to do Hack Day (inspired by Google) to allow everyone the chance to make something new and creative that is not in the normal development path.  Plus it's great for the guys to interact together and act as a team.

We could have used the Golf or Sphero Drive apps to play Beer Pong, but we decided that if we were going to do it we wanted to create something new to drive Sphero in a way we hadn't done before.  Jon, an Orbotix software engineer, was the man behind the Sphero Beer Pong hack.  For a previous Hack Friday he made the RC-Drive app, which allows you to drive Sphero like an RC car (see photo below).   It turns out that this was a very intuitive way to drive Sphero.  Everyone liked it so much that we are now working on including it as a third method of driving in the Sphero Drive app.  If it hadn't been for Hack Fridays, we might have never come up with the idea!

Although the user interface on the apps created during Hack Friday's are often crude, they are secondary to the innovation and creativity that comes out of developing them.  Other cool hacks that have come out of Hack Fridays include: Sphero Voice Control (talk into your smartphone and tell Sphero what to do), Sphero Chariots, Sphero KittyCam (drive Sphero and video your cat chasing it at the same time), Double Drive Sphero (driving 2 Sphero's at the same time) and Sphero Driving School (where you can take over control from another person, or reverse controls, and change sensitivity while Sphero rolls - two phones, one is master and one is slave).

With our Open API, anyone will be able to create their very own Sphero hacks. The possibilities are virtually endless, so be on the lookout for more in the future!

Sphero Beer Pong hack

Sphero RC-Drive hack

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