Weekly Wrap Up - On Your Marks

09 Aug 2016
Weekly Wrap Up - On Your Marks

Now that we’re officially in the middle of summer, the heat is on in our BBQs and down south in Rio at the Olympics. Watching athletes—who have trained intensely for the past four years—compete with other athletes from all over the world for a choice spot at the podium is nothing short of inspiring.

Sphero is in no short supply of athleticism either, flexing both brains and braun. No only do we have incredibly talented programmers, designers, developers and thinkers of all kinds, many of us are also ultra runners, cyclists, mountain climbers, power lifters, yogis; you name it.

We believe in being as healthy and sound in mind as we are in body, which is why Sphero employees also reap the benefits of a gym or studio membership reimbursment, courtesy of Sphero. Being that Boulder is quite the active community (almost a requirement if you live and work here), activities are in abundant supply, ripe for the picking. Outside of some of the best traditional gyms around—of which many Olympic athletes train at—yoga studios, rock climbing gyms (if the Flatirons don’t suit you), a web of biking and running trails, kayaking groups, dance studios and anything you can think of outdoors are all within a walk outside.

Despite the activity we choose, all of them are do a fine job of boosting our endorphins, readying for a race to the finish line as we find our marks on both the track and product boards.

Because as the very popular saying goes, happy people make happy bots.

Or something along those [race track] lines.

A Day In The Life: Rob Helvestine

Weekly Wrap Up - On Your Marks

Q. Alrighty, let’s start things off: Please tell us your name and title.

A. I'm Rob Helvestine, and I'm a Hardware Engineer at Sphero.

Q. Hi, Rob. Can you tell these fine people what you do at Sphero everyday?

A. Every day I work on aspects of new product designs. As an electrical engineer, that might be designing a circuit, analyzing a circuit we have built up, debugging an issue on a board, or figuring out the best way to solve a problem. Trust me, it's a lot of fun.

Q. You look like a trustworthy person, so I’ll take your word for it. What advice can you offer for other aspiring engineers?

A. Be curious. Curious how a circuit or product may work, but also curious about other aspects of life you may not have any experience with. For example, one of my friends is a professional athlete. He lives a vastly different lifestyle than I do. But if I can pick his brain about his world and things that work for him and things that don't, and take away one small morsel to experiment with in my own life and career, it could have a profound affect on me. Digging into other people's lifestyles and careers will help you figure out what you're passionate about.

Q. So become a Renaissance man/woman of sorts. Can you share what you’re currently working on or is it super secret?

A. I'm working on two different products right now. One is super secret, but don't worry, you'll see it eventually. The other product is the Power Pack; a charging and carrying pack for twelve SPRK+ robots. It has proven to have intricacies that are giving me headaches. . .

Q. So essentially your pain is our gain. Sorry and thank you. Besides good(?) headaches, what do you enjoy most working at Sphero?

A. The engineers here are really smart and have great experience. I get to pick their brains every day and learn something new. 

Q. Great brains ripe for the picking. Which of our bots is your fave to pick up?

A. Definitely the SPRK+. Teaching the younger generation how to code is a great return on investment. They are the ones that will grow up to be super smart engineers that propel innovation forward. This is actually the only bot I have ever sent to friends and family for that reason.

Q. A gentleman helping to make scholars. What do you enjoy doing outside of work and Sphero?

A. Honestly I spend about 15-18 hours a week training for triathlons. It's a bit nutty, but I've been enjoying them for many years now so why would I stop? Like many other aspects of life, triathlon teaches you lessons like perseverance, overcoming fears, commitment, and time management. I probably spend another 10 hours a week reading The Economist and whatever book is nearest my pillow. If you can't tell already, yes, I am single.

Q. You hear that, ladies? A verifiable catch. We'd like to know what you love most about living in Colorado?

A. THE MOUNTAINS! There is no other right answer to this question.

Q. BOOM. So any recommendations of a place we gotta check out?

A. One of my favorite places is Brainard Lake, about 25 miles west of Boulder. It's a beautiful alpine lake at about 10,300 feet of elevation that you can road bike to. I get there a handful of times throughout the summer. Get there in May and you can still find feet of snow piled up on the side of the road.

Q. I now have weekend plans, thank you very much. Alright, to wrap this up we’re all ears: tell me something about yourself (ladies, listen up) that will blow my mind.

I rode my bicycle solo and self-supported across the United States in the summer of 2010. And I almost died of hypothermia early one morning caught in a terrible storm on top of Lizard Head Pass, but I woke up to an old lady who threw me in her scalding hot shower to save me. That ended the worst couple hours of my life.


  1. Is this the lunch line?
  2. Zzzzzzzz..
  3. BB-8 it.
  4. Grassroots gear.
  5. Long rolls on the beach.
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