The Sphero mini was a Christmas present for William.
This is the smaller brother to the standard Sphero which is about as large a a baseball while the mini is golf ball sized.
What do you get?
- Sphero mini
- USB charging lead
- 6 mini bowling pins
- 3 mini traffic cones
This is all packaged in a small clear plastic case.
To control Sphero mini you need a compatible Android or IOS device and download the Sphero apps.
There is also a windows application for programming.
You will find that there are many many ways to play with Sphero, some of them quite novel.
This is the first experience you will get with Sphero, once you have calibrated the direction, you can drive the Sphero around using a joystick on the screen, the more you push the joystick the faster the little Sphero goes.
You will be pleasantly surprised at how fast this little ball can spin around your house and how controllable the device is.
This is like joystick mode but you pull back in the opposite direction on the joystick and let go, firing the Sphero across the room.
This is exactly as its description, you now control the Sphero by tilting your phone, the more you tilt the faster the Sphero will go.
This is a fun one for the children, you control the Sphero by tilting your head to steer and smiling or frowning to go forwards and backwards. I didn’t find it reacted to my face too well 🙁
The more noise you make the faster Sphero will go! (Not a favorite of mine)
This is another adaptation of the joystick control, you flick a football on the screen to control the Sphero.
In this mode you set the direction you wish Sphero to set off in and then use your phone as a golf club to hit him across the floor.
This is a really basic programming system that anyone can easily pick up, you control Sphero by selecting a sequence of blocks, Forward, Reverse, Left, Right and colours then press start and Sphero will run through the sequence across the floor.
This is a mini space invaders you control with Sphero, as you turn Sphero the little space ship moves around under your control.
This is a car driving game where yo rotate Sphero to control the car, attempting to get speed boosts along the way and missing obsticals.
I really liked this game, its a take on the old arcade game blocks but you have to hit blocks in a polygon that rotates around the ball, you rotate the polygon with Sphero to get the ball to destroy each of the sides, its trickier than you think. You start off with a pentagon and as you progress the polygon gets more and more sides making it more and more difficult.
Learn to Code with Sphero
The blocks editor is a great introduction for children to writing code. The blocks themselves direct you as to whats possible and the information they need from you to achieve a task. The coding can be linear and easy to read.
The block options are very comprehensive and are all lined up at the bottom of the screen. Allowing you to select from Movements, Lights, Sounds, Controls, Operators, Comparators, Sensors, Events, Variables and Functions.
There are many tutorials ad example programs to choose from and a community to get help and more programs to experiment with.
There are also loads of activities that teachers can set students to use the Sphero in structured coding lessons.
Assessment of Sphero Mini
The Sphero is a really fun toy and could keep the kids entertained for a long time due to the different play modes and games.
Where it could really prove itself is if your child’s interested in coding as it is a fun introduction to software coding using a really simple and easy to learn blocks editor.
There are now many versions of the Sphero and the BB-8 & R2D2 robots really do look cool.
3D Printed Storage Case
Because we have our own 3D printer, whenever we get something new like this we always look on Thingiverse and other 3D print sites for any printable accessories.
The tiny plastic case that came with the Sphero was too small to practically pack everything away in it after use. So when we found this case by spradlinb on Thingivers it was a must print item for us.
This case does a really good job at packing everything away and is well designed. The only issue I had was with the clip that needed a minor bit of sanding to get the case to snap shut. Thank you spradlinb.
I printed ours out in a lovely pearl red filament from Prusa.