Sphero, better known for its hit products like R2-D2, BB-8, Lighting McQueen and Spider Man, have created a smaller version of the Sphero 2.0 and dubbed it the Sphero Mini. Sphero’s line of connected play products have proved to be very popular. They combine robotics and digital technology, and the results are fun, innovative ‘toys’ that aim to both amuse and teach users of all ages.
The Sphero Mini is the least expensive of all Sphero products so far, retailing at $49, about half the price of the Sphero 2.0. Adam Wilson, Sphero co-founder and Chief Software Architect, claims that it’s important for the company to make their products available to everyone, and thus the Sphero Mini was born.
Sphero’s latest product can do pretty much everything its big brother can, with some exceptions, including wireless charging. It also isn’t waterproof and will be less durable than the Sphero 2.0. Still, it has its own set of cool features, including what Sphero is calling Face Drive – which allows the Sphero Mini to scan your face and react (meaning roll in different directions) based on your facial expression. So it might go straight if you smile, or go in the direction you tilt your head. That’s a neat feature that is exclusive to the Sphero Mini – for now.
When asked why, since they are having a lot of success with Disney based products, Sphero is putting out independent, non-licensed products, Wilson explained that the company does not like to experiment on licensed products; rather, they like to conduct experiments (like Face Drive) on their own line of products. He added that Sphero want to stay true to its nature of producing products that are always hackable and programmable, and that testing new technology on non-licensed products is the best way of doing so.
The Sphero Mini is available for purchase here. It comes in five different colors (white, orange, pink, green and blue), but if you want to mix it up, you can also buy differently colored shells (all 5 colors for $12.99). Accessories are also available (bowling pins and road cones) for an additional $9.99.