A girl holding a robotic ball in her hand.

Introduce Your Child to the World of Robotics With the Sphero Mini Robotic Ball

What Does the Sphero Mini Robotic Ball Do?

Toys have taken an interesting turn in the modern age. Kids nowadays, seem to mostly “play” using iPads and smartphones, which is a little disappointing. It’s not the same compared to playing with actual toys. Well, at least there are some toys out there that are doing a good job of combining old and new toys into one. Enter, the Sphero Mini robotic ball.

What Is Sphero?

Sphero is a company that strives to enhance how kids learn through robotics. They used STEAM-based, programmable tools. This can help improve a child's critical thinking skills and gets them more involved with learning.

Aside from the Sphero Mini robotic ball, they also sell robotic kits to build your own robots, robotic cars (Sphero RVR), robotic chariots and they even have a kit for music lovers.

What Is the Sphero Mini Robotic Ball?

The Sphero Mini robotic ball is a miniaturized version of the original Sphero robot. It is about the size of a ping pong ball, weighs about 46 grams, has a diameter of 1.17 inches and has a top speed of around 2.2 miles per hour. It uses a gyroscope and accelerometer to function. It comes in five different colors of white, blue, orange, green and pink, and has a reasonable price tag of $50.

What Is the Sphero Mini Robotic Ball Used For?

Do you know how sometimes parents have to hide the vegetables inside other foods to get their kids (or dogs) to eat them? Well, the same concept often applies to get kids to engage their minds while at home. That’s where learning disguised as fun time comes into play.

As a self-identified STEM learning company, Sphero provides consumers with products that are great for giving your kids a head start in the fields of technology, coding and robotics. I cannot promise that they will become the next generation of Jimmy Neutron and Dexter from Dexter’s Laboratory, but they will be close.

How to Use the Sphero Mini Robotic Ball

The primary way of using the Sphero Mini robotic ball comes in the way of several different modes on the Sphero Play app. The app can be downloaded on both Apple and Android devices and gives users access to several movement modes for your product. The app is very simple to use, as expected of an app for a kids’ toy.

There is joystick mode, which allows you to drive the mini robotic ball like a car. There is also a slingshot mode, which turns it into a projectile slingshot, and tilt mode, which moves the mini robotic ball by tilting and turning your smart device. Last, but not least, there is the face drive feature, which lets you move the ball by moving your head.

For some more advanced fun, you can code some basic commands into the robotic ball using the blocks drive mode, or by delving into the coding languages found on the Sphero Edu app, like JavaScript and Swift.

In addition to the basic driving mechanics, you can also use the Sphero Mini robotic ball as a game controller to play several games on the Sphero Play app, which will provide your kids with more hours of fun

Sphero Mini Robotic Ball Features:

  • LED lighting
  • Interchangeable colored, outer shells (though you must buy additional shells)
  • Bluetooth smart connection
  • Micro USD port for easy charging
  • Six bowling pins and three traffic cones
  • Sphero Play for fun and Sphero Edu for learning

The Pros and Cons of the Sphero Mini

The Sphero Mini robotic ball is a reasonably priced toy that is both fun and educational. There are also tons of “replay” value that should keep your kid entertained for quite a while.

This toy also represents computer science, the future of the world. This can help your kid explore this area to see if they are interested and it is better than your kids just staring at a tablet screen all day. The multiple colors and LED functionality make it very visually appealing for kids

Like anything in life, there are some cons to this little robotic toy. It only has a one-hour battery life, it is not durable, and it is not pet-friendly.

Fun Fact

If a rolling robot ball sounds similar to a droid in a galaxy far, far, away, you would be right. Sphero made a BB-8 and an R2-D2 model several years back. They are easy to find on eBay though, so maybe give these a thought if you have any Star Wars lovers in the house.