Sphero’s Bolt is a new version of the company’s popular robot ball that adds a 8×8 LED matrix display on top.
Primarily aimed at education, the programmable robot sits above Sphero’s other products and boasts infrared sensors for Bolt-to-Bolts comms plus an ambient light sensor that enables the ball to react to lights and changes in room brightness. It’s also easier to aim the robot thanks to a built-in compass.
There’s also a new battery that can last for up to two hours of continuous play. Bolt uses the existing Sphero Edu so you can view programs created by others as well as block code your own programs on iOS, Android, Kindle, Mac, Windows, and Chrome.
There’s also a new Sphero Play app which is more if you want to play with the device. There are several games and it’s available on iOS and Android.
In a briefing with Pocket-lint, Sphero’s CEO Paul Berberian, said that the company’s foray into licensed Disney toys had been very successful but that it wanted to focus on devices with an educational side from now on. “We got involved with the Disney Accelerator program and that’s where we learned that Star Wars was going to have a new character in it that looked very similar to the product we were selling. BB-8 was huge, we sold millions of them in an incredibly short period of time.
“We learned a lot and we realised we’re not a toy company…we couldn’t come up with thousands of products per year. We’re a company that crafts tech experiences, that have great software and have depth.
“The education [side] has grown really steadily” continued Berberian. “Teachers are going to the depths of what we’ve created rather than just scratching the surface and putting [the robot] back on the shelf. So we started looking at who was using our products…and we went back to our core, building products that are super fun to play with but also have depth educationally.”
Sphero Bolt is available for £149.99 on Sphero.com. The robot will also be available from Amazon, John Lewis, Harrods and Selfridges later this month. There are also two classrooms packs available from £1,950 that include 15 robots.
We’ve got our own Sphero Bolt and we’ll be bringing you our first impressions soon. Also check out Anki Vector is the most adorable toy robot you’re ever going to meet