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Sphero BOLT has an array of LEDs and connects to Swift Playgrounds

Who is more versed in the technological universe will certainly remember the Sphero (formerly Orbotix), a company that gained spotlight at the beginning of the decade with its remotely controlled spheres and, a few years later, made the joy of children ? and adults too, who will deny ? with its licensed products from the saga ?Star Wars?.

Unfortunately, since then the company has suffered some shocks: the income did not come as expected, a part of its staff had to be fired and Sphero needed to reinvent itself as a company focused on education. Now, they are launching the first product as part of this new vision ? the Sphero BOLT.

Sphero BOLT

BOLT is still a remotely controlled sphere with a very playful aspect, but now also aimed at educational purposes. In technological terms, the novelties here are due to a series of new sensors (of light and location, in addition to an infrared transmitter for communication with other spheres) and an array of LEDs present inside the transparent body of the toy, which can be programmed to show words, pictures or the direction of the ball.

The idea behind the new gadget, according to one of the directors of Sphero, Adam Wilson, is to teach through play. Therefore, BOLT connects with Apple?s educational ecosystem, working with the Swift Playgrounds app so that programming language students can carry out experiments with the sphere and see them taking shape in practice, in real time. The presence of sensors and LEDs ensures that students can take their tests with broader variables, improving learning.


Sphero Edu app icon

The basic control app for BOLT is Sphero Edu, present on a number of platforms (iOS, Android, Chrome and even Kindle) and which supports three levels of programming, including JavaScript. The sphere connects to the control device via Bluetooth (the range is up to approximately 30 meters) and its battery in full activity lasts up to two hours ? the box includes a charging base.

Sphero is already selling BOLT on its official website for $ 150 ? for schools and institutions, there are special packages with multiple units for reduced prices. Nice, right?

via TechCrunch