The new Sphero 2b, a completely customizable and programmable robot that’s being shown off at this year’s consumer electronics could do what education toys and dedicated technology education programs in schools couldn’t: finally get kids and young adults into programming.
Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Sphero 2b is custom-made for the educational toy market that slowly been gaining moment thanks to the proliferation of app stores.
To be clear, Sphero, the Spehro 2B’s maker isn’t marketing the device as a way to get young adults into computer programming. Instead, Sphero 2b’s interchangable wheels, tires and hub caps allow young owners to accessorize their robots look and feel. The company is hoping that users take ownership in the robot itself by customizing their Sphero 2b’s look to help it stand out more.
As mentioned, users can also take ownership of the Sphero 2b’s software. Though the software comes with pre-programmed driving modes and a bevy of “multiplayer games”, users will be able to program against the device’s upcoming software development kit.
Each Sphero 2B will be able to travel up to 14 feet per second when it debuts sometime in the fall. The device will also boast iPhone and Android compatibility through native apps for the iPhone and devices running the Android operating system. It’s unclear whether users will be able to reprogram the device through those applications wirelessly using its Bluetooth LE radio or if they’ll need to plug it in using its USB port.
Sphero is showcasing the Sphero 2b on its website now, the company says that it has plans to release the device’s customizable parts and other accessories along with the unit itself.
Unfortunately, there’s Sphero isn’t ready to confirm the Sphero 2b’s final pricing. However, the company’s press release did note that it’s hoping to make the robot available to users “worldwide for under $100.” Sphero didn’t share any more information about what type of accessories users will be arrive along with the Sphero 2b.
The original Sphero features accessories too. It also allows users to pair it with their smartphone to interact with it. It’s on sale at the company’s website for $79.99.
Users can reserve Sphero 2b now.