Sphero RVR: The DIY Robot That Can Do Anything


Earlier today, Sphero revealed the company’s newest project: the Sphero RVR, a do-it-yourself robot.

At first glance, Sphero’s newest robotic toy looks like one of those remote-controlled toy-cars we’ve played with as children or like something someone built out of Lego Mindstorms and, perhaps, in some way, that’s what it is.

But Sphero’s RVR is not, technically speaking, a toy: it was designed to serve as a base for robotics.

Like the other Sphero products focused on education or home learning, the RVR will work with a basic application with remote control that will allow you to drive it out-of-the-box via the Sphero Edu app.

But what makes this robot unlike others is the fact that you can actually tinker with it and pull it apart piece by piece.

Inside, you’ll find a color sensor, a gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, ir-sensor and a light sensor. Sphero also created a ready-to-use code library filled with samples for third party systems such as Raspberry Pi, Arduino and micro:bit that will allow both experienced and new users to have a go at programming the robot.

Of course, that’s where all the fun begins.

Sphero is also partnering with Sparkfun Electronics to offer some modules that could be used with RVR, but you can also add your very own parts and attach them to the top of the RVR – even things like a robotic arm, if you so feel inclined and think you have the knowledge (or patience, if you are just beginning) to pull it off.

In addition to the two infrared sensors, the RVR also has a new color detection module that comes from another recent Sphero system: Specdrums. The Specdrums are portable rings that turn colors into musical notes.

This color detection technology can be used to help the RVR navigate via color cards and the users can even create a completely new color-based program for the robot themselves.

Like other Sphero products, the RVR is is being launched as a campaign on Kickstarter as the ‘go anywhere, do anything programmable robot‘.

The campaign offers the backers some pretty good discounts and early bird offers and bundles but Sphero will also be hosting an RVR Hackathon at the Sphero HQ in Boulder, on March 14th. The company will be selecting 4 backers that will fly over to Boulder and get to have a first-hand experience with the RVR.

If interested, you can find the application form on the Sphero RVR Kickstarter page.

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