Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Industry | By Terrell Bush

Spherical robot gets shiny new matrix screen and light sensor

Spherical robot gets shiny new matrix screen and light sensor

The Bolt is unique over its predecessors in that it features an 8×8 LED matrix that animates and displays real-time data.

Sphero announced its newest robot, Sphero BOLT, on Monday.

That favors well against the most recent, pricey Sphero toys, such as the Sphero BB-8 and Pixar's Cars' Lightning McQueen.

Sphero has revamped its software for the launch of the Bolt, with an updated Sphero Edu app and the new Sphero Play app, both created to work with the Bolt along with the Sphero Mini and the SPRK+. You will be able to use the Sphero Edu app to program games to run on its display. The ball can be programmed either via Scratch's block-based programming or Javascript, either to move about on a predetermined path or to respond to movements and inputs from its various sensors via the display or LED lights. It's a robotic sphere, packed with electronics that, at its most basic, allows it to act as a remote control toy, scuttling at speed around the floor.

Some 821 million people hungry worldwide
Though the problem is most significant in North America, Africa and Asia are also experiencing an upward trend, the report shows. Falling hunger rates have until recently been a major success story, largely thanks to rapid economic development in Asia.

Sphero BOLT retails for $149.99 and is available now on and at select retailers later this month. While they may be more instantly recognisable in terms of children's characters, neither offer the flexibility or depth of the Sphero Bolt. That means that as a coding tool, the Bolt is really best suited to kids (and adults) who've already mastered the basics elsewhere and want to use the Sphero to explore more complex options. It's pricey, but if you haven't quite got the funds for the Bolt, the SPRK+ offers a similar range of features for less. The Bolt launches alongside a beginner-friendly coding app, which lets you program the Bolt to react according to information it's receiving from its sensors. You can program it to display nearly anything from games to animations to some cool design that responds to data from its sensors.

The Bolt costs $150 but Sphero is selling it in 15-pack boxes. It also marked the first time for Sphero to come up with a gadget that lets multiple robots to interact. Schools or other groups can also purchase classroom packs which are available in a 15 pack, one with a charging case (BOLT Power Pack) for $3999.99 and the other without the charging case for $2999.99 (BOLT 15 pack).

OK, so that's what's inside the Sphero Bolt - but how do you take advantage of it all? Coding the ideal project can be a time-intensive passtime, and you'll likely need some degree of patience to get the Bolt doing exactly what you want it to. "So we're going to just focus on a few products and get them to be spectacular", Wilson explained.

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