Sphero Functions

23 Nov 2011

Sphero is a highly technological, sophisticated robotic ball. Sure, sure. He can still entertain the family cat. But what exactly do we mean, and why are we so excited about our little creation? Because when we say the possibilities are nearly endless, we mean it. Sphero is changing the way you play, and will continue to do so because we built him with that in mind. Welcome to the first of a three part introduction to the theory behind Sphero's bright future.

Most classic balls sport a handful of functions. They're meant to be hit, thrown, caught, or rolled. But Sphero boasts eight unique functions - and not the standard kind. Roll, color change, detection, physical, gesture, input, macro, and collision. Now Sphero's starting to sound more like a robot! These eight functions are the major ways in which Sphero is used for game play. Read on for the details.

As you're probably well aware, Sphero is controlled by a person. That person uses a smartphone or tablet to manipulate Sphero's motor controls (the technology within) to play a game such as racing. This is more than driving - it's remarkable control. And while you're motoring along, you can change Sphero's colors. He contains a unique RGB LED that allows thousands of possible color changes. This comes in handy when you've got five or more Spheros playing simultaneously.

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Detection. This function is still in the works, and we sure are excited. Sphero will one day be able to experience mixed reality to the fullest by interacting with 2D objects on your screen. Zombies, anyone? But until we get the zombies up and running, accessories are an awesome way to add to your Sphero experience. Cones, race tracks, jumps, and magnets are only the beginning. Create or manipulate game play any way you like!

Our most colorful app, Chromo, is currently being developed with the gesture function in mind. Correctly match the colors on your screen by moving Sphero in the right direction. But move fast, the clock is ticking. The longer you last, the harder it gets. The input function runs along the same lines. Let Sphero be the game controller and manipulate his orientation for certain types of game play. Look out for more apps highlighting these unique abilities. Our team is hard at work!

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The macro function means commands become the main source of Sphero's game play. They generate movement, accomplishing your goal. Blox is the perfect example of this function. Drag and drop command "blox" into a timeline to program Sphero to work autonomously.  And finally, the collision function. We're looking forward to the day when physical ball collision detection is a reality. Can you say Bumper Sphero?

Sphero is not just a ball. Sure, he can roll. But he's rolling into a field of his own. Check back next week for the next installment, Sphero Skills.

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