COMMENTARY: Not Your Average R/C Toys

Give a child a R/C controller, and he or she will be occupied for hours, steering or flying whatever device it is around the room or outside. Give a child an iPhone and chances are your contacts will end up being deleted, you’ll be left with 350 pictures of the inside of your little boy or girl’s mouth, and your phone will soon self destruct—but, that’s about to change.

There’s no denying that it’s now essentially encrypted in children’s nature to be intrigued by new technology at increasingly younger ages—and let’s face it, most of the time they get the hang of it a lot quicker than adults. But instead of parents discouraging their children from toying around with iPhones, iPads, and tablets (because they’re of course not toys, they’re high-tech adult equipment that are soo not used for playing Candy Crush), they can instead support a productive way to use such devices with these awesome toys.

I was first introduced to Orbotix’s Sphero 2.0 when someone in the office put it on my desk and said, “Here, play with this.” I looked at the box a little confused wondering what it was, and as I starSP0SPHERO003ted to read the instructions (very helpful to figuring out how toys work), I realized that this was, hands down, one of the coolest toys I’ve ever played with. It’s simply a ball, not a fancy monster truck with huge wheels and the ability to smash into the wall, crumble into pieces, and put itself back together all while singing jingle bells—or something like that. But, it’s a robotic ball with an engine and it’s really, really fast and controlled by your phone. You just download the Sphero app on your iPhone, iPad, iTouch, or android device and using a Bluetooth connection your device transforms into a control that propels Sphero at speeds up to seven feet per second across the room and off ramps. The driving accuracy really impressed me because I do tend to be a little spazzy with toys like these, but it was actually easy to maneuver the toy around bends and turns and what not. Sphero 2.0 also lights up in a variety of neon colors which looks as spectacular as it is to play. There are also a ton of other apps available to engage Sphero in a variety of games. [Read more...]

Orbotix Releases New Games, Updates for Sphero Gaming System

Sphero, the gaming system that uses a robotic ball you control from your smartphone or tablet, has released a number of updates and new games. New offerings include Exile, Colorgrab, Tag, Golf V2, and DoodleGrub. Their improved firmware now offers a better gaming experience through vector drive, fast aiming, and auto leveling.

On September 14, Orbotix will release Sphero V2—which combines Sphero, Drive, and SpheroCam and offers new functionality and links to the SpheroVerse community.

[Read more...]

Sphero Launches New Apps for Android, Apple Devices

Sphero, a new type of gaming system that uses a robotic ball you control from your smartphone or tablet, announced this month’s release of new apps for iOS and Android devices.

Sphero Drive allows users to choose from touchscreen interfaces, such as joystick, old-school RC control, and tilt mode, to test their skills and race against friends and family. In a mixed-reality version of Golf, users create their own courses then swing their phones to putt Sphero toward the hole. Users can challenge their coordination and memory by holding Sphero, starting up Chromo, and moving Sphero to match colors and patterns as they appear on the screen.

Created by Orbotix, a company dedicated to reinventing fun and gaming through consumer-facing robotics and phone-controlled open devices, Sphero can be purchased online or at Brookstone.

Check out this video for more info: Sphero Launches New Gaming Apps.

This post was originally written by Sierra McCleary-Harris and published by ToyBook.com. For more news, visit www.toybook.com, follow The Toy Book on Twitter, and like The Toy Book on Facebook. The Toy Book is a bimonthly trade magazine covering the toy industry, published by Adventure Publishing Group.