June 22, 2016 weblog
SPRK+ robot for coding and connected play is kid-friendly and school-friendly
(Tech Xplore)—Sphero was in the news this week because of its new entry to its little robot family that had numerous tech watchers liking what they saw in the complete package of robot and app, in its new version, namely the SPRK+.
As Engadget's Edgar Alvarez reported on Tuesday, the second generation of Sphero's education-focused ball has arrived, dubbed SPRK+.
The SPRK+ has arrived and according to the Sphero site it is listed for $129.99.
Sphero has delivered a cute, round transparent robot with LED lights and it is designed to do more than deliver fun and giggles. Sphero's robot can teach children how to code.
In CNET, Scott Stein, a senior editor, remarked that "Sphero SPRK and Lightning Lab have a lot of fun challenges and projects that feel like interactive lesson plans, mostly because they are."
Lucy Schouten, the Christian Science Monitor, wrote Tuesday about the latest update for this,
Bluetooth-capable, child-friendly robot. Sphero's SPRK is a platform that can teach students to develop such skills through play."
In talking about the robot platform what one is really talking about is "an educational program for kids to build up their coding skills," said Edgar Alvarez in Engadget, with its robot and a companion app, for users to set up commands for the robot to follow.
This is the Lightning Lab app; Sphero's site says users learn programming, complete activities and can also share results with the community. The Sphero SPRK Lightning app is available for download in the App Store, Google Play, and Kindle Store.
Brittany Goetting, technical editor, Hot Hardware, said the new Sphero SPRK and its corresponding app have the power to inspire interest in coding and STEM principles, and to teach "the power of cause, effect, and conditions in programming."
"SPRK+ and Lightning Lab teach students valuable skills for the future under the disguise of play," said David Millage, General Manager of Education at Sphero. "Learning is evolving and we are seeing a transition from consumption to creation in the classroom."
The Sphero SPRK+ comes with an inductive charging base with a USB charging cable (the SPRK page warns against using an unapproved USB hub. "Doing so can cause irreparable damage to your cradle and robot.") It also comes with maze tape, 360 degree protractor and sticker sheet. A start guide is also included.
It is listed on the site with Bluetooth Smart in 100 foot range and can go over 4.5 mph. The site says on a full charge there can be over 1 hour of play.
Schouten said the newest Sphero's default mode "is silent, but with a sound option for users who want their robot to 'talk' like R2D2 as it rolls..."
CNET's Stein commented, "it's transparent. You can see the motor, circuits, and other cool tech guts inside. It functions the exact same way as older Sphero robots, but that better Bluetooth can come in handy for the market SPRK is targeting: Educators who have to set up multiple Sphero robots at once."
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