Gadgeteer Sphero, from Boulder, Colorado, has been wowing fans of robotics and playful electronics for more than a decade. I made a Technopolis TV video earlier this year on its Specdrums colour-sensitive finger rings for music making.
Now it has launched its most ambitious product yet – a programmable Mars rover-style robot, RVR, which even an adult can drive out of the box and be programming within minutes using its intuitive app.
The beginner’s level involves sliding instructions on coloured blocks into a sequence on your phone, which a six-year‑old could do, and even I managed. Watching the machine dashing around on your orders is weirdly gratifying. Onboard sensors include colour and light detectors, infrared, a magnetometer, an accelerometer and a gyroscope.
Later, you can graduate to real coding and start customising machines with accessories such as robot arms to create almost whatever you want, from a device to play with the cat to a robot that will roll around the house while you’re away and report on how things are looking.