Sphero Mini is an adorable robot ball, bowling ball and smartphone joystick for just $49.99

October 02, 2017

Sphero Mini is an adorable robot ball, bowling ball and smartphone joystick for just $49.99

Sphero has recently focused their attention on the Star Wars saga, with its incredible R2-D2 droid. But, the company has found time to create a new robot called the Sphero Mini. Controlled by a smartphone, this new robot with the size of a billiard ball is the new entry-level model of the company, but also the most affordable one too.

In fact, the Sphero Mini arrives for the modest sum of $ 49.99, which is considerably cheaper than a Sphero SPRK + at $ 129.99. Sphero Mini is not only the smallest robot ball we've ever seen, but also the first, which is controlled by a human smile.

The cute little ball with a diameter of about 3 centimeters, in many respects, is a full-fledged robot. You connect to it via Bluetooth, holding your smartphone next to the robot and controlling it using a special Sphero Edu app (iOS or Android). The basic method of control is by a joystick on the screen, allowing the ball-robot to move on the table or the surface on which it is. There is also an inclination control mode, which allows you to control the Sphero Mini by simply tilting your smartphone in different directions.

The good news is the use of some Sphero accessories, which are included in the box. In addition to the robot itself, there are six small pins and three small cones. With these, you will be able to embellish the course of the robot by some obstacles. To increase the possibilities for fun, there is a control called "Slingshot", which allows you to pull and release the Sphero Mini towards the target, which is played by small pins and cones.

However, the main highlight of the tiny robot is the ability to control it with the help of facial expressions and head movements. For this purpose, you have the "Face Drive" mode. In this mode, your face will be followed by your smartphone’s front camera, not the Sphero Mini, but the robot will perform actions in response to signals from the smartphone almost instantly.

With your permission, Sphero Mini uses the front camera of your smartphone to track your facial expressions and head movement. A smile or a gloomy look move the robot forward or backward, respectively. Tilting the head to the left or to the right directs the robot in the appropriate direction. As you can see in the video below, it is a rather fun process, especially as it is incredibly difficult to use. The expressions of your face can quickly make you lose control of the ball!

Among other things, you can use this cute robot-ball as the simplest game controller for your smartphone. With its help, for example, you can control a spacecraft by moving the ball to the right, left, forward and backward. The robot itself couples with your smartphone via Bluetooth, with a range of about 10 meters. Sphero Mini is almost small enough so you can take it with you wherever you go.

Unlike traditional Sphero, the inductive load dock is missing. Instead, the spherical envelope splits into two halves, allowing you to plug the micro USB cable in order to charge the small robot. A charge time of 45 minutes allows you to play for one hour. Unfortunately, such a design results in the absence of waterproofing. But, this allows you to change the shells of the Sphero Mini. At the moment, the Sphero Mini is offered in white, pink, green, blue and orange.

Obviously, Sphero's great hope is to find its place in the engineering and robotics courses, as well as with their largest model. The Sphero Mini will help to democratize robotics. A robot in JavaScript, which is both affordable and resilient, is not common. So this is great news for all the gadgets aficionados.

With an affordable price of just $ 49.99, there is no doubt that Sphero Mini will be one of the most desired gadgets for the New Year holidays. The individual hulls for the robot will cost you $12.99.