Did you always crave a cool and personal droid? While enjoying the company of a human sized robot might be a distant dream, you can get started by purchasing mini droid toys that look like cute balls right away!
Sphero — a company that fuses robotics and digital technology to enhance connected play experience — has brought its toys to India now. The brand is quite popular among robotic toy lovers (even former US President Barack Obama has tried his hand at a Sphero toy!). It has been launched in India by Luxury Personified, a leading distributor of luxury accessories and electronics in the country.
It is banking on the popularity of two particular Sphero models to drive its sales — the Sphero Mini and Star Wars: BB-8 droid. Both devices are compact, user-friendly and can be controlled using a smartphone or tablet and are expected to revolutionise the luxury toy market in India.
Sphero Mini - More Than A Ping Pong Ball
Before it branched out to other toys, Sphero was known for making robotic balls— popularly known as the Sphero Minis. Its latest release has gone through a lot of upgrades that pack quite a ‘technical’ punch in a pocket-friendly size.
The latest Sphero Mini, which looks similar to a ping-pong ball, comes in vibrant colours of orange, blue, white, green and pink. Just like a Kinder Joy egg, the shell opens in two halves, which means you can keep experimenting with colours by buying separate shells. Inside, a gyroscope and an accelerometer help it roll 360 degrees.
What It Does
It’s simply a robotic ball that can be controlled by an app on your phone (works both on Android and iOS). With the app, you can remote-control the ball through a lot of play modes—you can use it as a video game controller that lets the ball roll, tilt, move back and forth and accomplish tasks. And if your fingers are tired, you can drive the ball with your facial expressions through its mugshot recognizing software.
What’s more? It comes with a set of mini-bowling pins and tiny orange traffic cones. So, if you are ever in a mood for an impromptu obstacle game or a round of bowling, you can just set it up at your desk and have fun!
Before You Buy
It’s too early to say whether it is as durable as its bigger versions but according to reviewers it stays intact if it falls off a table. On the downside though, it is not waterproof and doesn't have inductive charging. You will need to charge it via a micro-USB that connects to the inner motor once you pop open the shell. A fully charged ball lasts for 45 minutes of game play. The Sphero Mini is priced at Rs 5,000 and can be bought here.
If you like robots and Star Wars, then the BB-8 can be your new best friend. Ask it how it is doing and it will do a small dance for you! You can connect it with an app on your phone (compatible with both iOS and Android) and control it with voice commands. It understands phrases like ‘look around’, ‘wake up’, ‘go to sleep’ and responds in different ways through sound, light and motion. You can also record a video on your device and sync it with the app to see an augmented reality projection of it on your BB-8.
What makes it unique from other droids is that it has an ‘adaptive personality’. As it moves, it records data of its acceleration, obstacles and boundaries, which helps it manoeuvre across different rooms autonomously and set itself free from ‘traps’.
If you are in the mood for binge watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story then you can switch on its ‘watch with me’ feature.
Play the movie and enjoy the droid’s simultaneous reactions with its adorable ‘beeps’ and head turns.
Because of its spherical design, it runs smoothly on many surfaces including sand and indoor carpets. The BB-8’s head is detachable and is held with magnets. There are buttons on it boost speed, patrol its perimeter and move in specific motions. Also on offer at the Luxury Personified store are the Sphero Spiderman, Sphero Sprk+ and the Sphero R2-D2 droid among others. You can buy the Star Wars: BB-8 Rs. 11,000 here. Owning a toy was never this cool!