Sphero Announces Kickstarter for Seriously Hackable Robot Vehicle

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Sphero is a company known for producing fun robotic toys, including the one for which the company is named. But now they’ve announced their newest product, and while it’s still fun and robotic, it’s also designed to be hackable. And the Kickstarter for it has just launched.

The Sphero RVR will come with an onboard color sensor, light sensor, infrared sensor, magnetometer, accelerometer and gyroscope. It sounds pretty durable, with a roll cage and clear protective plate (both of which are removable). Even cooler, it promises to be able to interact with other Sphero robots. And then there’s the expansion port, allowing for even more hackability. Sphero is partnering with SparkFun Electronics to produce a kit to produce useful expansion tech, but you’ll be able to plug in pretty much whatever you like.

The Kickstarter for the RVR is already going strong, with over $45,000 USD (of a target $150,000) pledged as of this writing, with 30 days left to go. The robot will retail for $249, but if you’re quick enough you can still get it on Kickstarter for only $199. The company’s press release also promises that “[b]ackers who support the RVR project within the first week of launch will be eligible to be selected for an all-expenses paid trip to Sphero HQ in Boulder, CO to compete in an all-day RVR Hackathon on March 14, 2019,” although the details for how this eligibility will be determined have not yet been provided.

Sphero has taken some criticism in the past about the limited programmability of their robots, so it’s really cool to see them coming out with something explicitly made to be hackable and expandable. If GeekDad is able to get our hands on one before the Kickstarter ends (or after, if necessary), we’ll be sure to let you know if it lives up to its promise.

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This post was last modified on February 20, 2019 8:45 am

Matt Blum :Matt Blum is Editor-in-Chief of GeekDad. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two kids, all of whom are also geeks. In his day job Matt is a software engineer, and his many geeky interests include science fiction, the Muppets, LEGO, board games, video games, and bacon.