Robotic ball a hit at electronics show (w/ Video)

Jan 09, 2011
The Sphero. Credit: Orbotix

A glowing robotic ball that is controlled by a smartphone has won fans and the interest of game developers at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Sphero, as the ball is called, rolls around the floor on command, its movements controlled by an Apple or an Android device.

A light glows inside the ball as it moves about, stopping, starting and navigating around objects.

"The gaming options are endless," said Jim Booth, vice president of business development for Orbotix, the Boulder, Colorado-based company behind Sphero, a finalist for a "Best of CES" award.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

"You can get simple driving apps to more complex multi-player games," Booth said. "Office golf -- we've had hundreds of ideas."

"We'll develop games for it and we're going to open up the platform to other developers to develop what they like," he said.

Booth said Sphero will go on sale in the United States in late 2011 and will cost under 100 dollars -- not included.

He said the ball is controlled from a smartphone by Bluetooth technology and has a gyro and an inside.

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User comments : 21

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Bob_Kob
5 / 5 (4) Jan 09, 2011
A remote control ball. Its so damn simple in concept, why didn't I think of that!
gvgoebel
5 / 5 (5) Jan 09, 2011
Just think of the fun you could have with your cat.
MorituriMax
1 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
Amen to that gvgoebel, I have 10 cats altogether and I can hardly wait to get this.
Kedas
not rated yet Jan 09, 2011
I already have such a ball but it is preprogrammed to cover the whole floor (cleaning)

Football!! (with remote balls puching an other ball) must be fun. expensive though.
apex01
not rated yet Jan 09, 2011
Looks really slow thou.
Pratyeka
5 / 5 (4) Jan 09, 2011
Is that the best they can come up with all that technology? $100 to get a ball rolling on the floor!
matt_broderick
5 / 5 (5) Jan 09, 2011
We'll see where this goes after they get the ball rolling.
krundoloss
not rated yet Jan 09, 2011
Its seems neat, the only problem with a ball like that is its limited torque capability (limited by the weight it uses to counteract internal motor). Im sure some rich people will want one of these. Bluetooth is very limited in range, by design of course. I think this wont go far. Now if they can integrate a camera . .
droid001
5 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
I just mist where the fun is? 100 bucks for slow rolling ball ?(smartphone not included)
thewhitebear
not rated yet Jan 09, 2011
really? best of CES is a little rolling ball? go culture!
Code_Warrior
4 / 5 (4) Jan 09, 2011
Lets take something simple, like rolling and kicking a ball with your hands and feet, and improve it with thousands of lines of code, wireless signalling, accelerometers, batteries, and a mechanical drive system that also requires batteries so that we can roll the ball using our hands and follow it closely using our feet.

Yeah, that is soooooo much more fun than just rolling or kicking it yourself. Thanks for the new invention Rube Goldberg.
MorituriMax
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 09, 2011
I already have such a ball but it is preprogrammed to cover the whole floor (cleaning)

Football!! (with remote balls puching an other ball) must be fun. expensive though.


Oh my God, can you say... Swifferball? You'll never go back to your mop again.
Coldstatic
not rated yet Jan 09, 2011
i see this more as a concept than anything. Now if you were controlling a little robot with laser tag type guns, and it was a multiplayer map... that would be cool
shagrabanda
5 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
I want a clear one with a toy hamster inside
jjoensuu
not rated yet Jan 09, 2011
would be a lot more fun if it was possible to get the ball to also bounce (although probably the mechanism inside would also not be able to handle the impacts)
plasticpower
1 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2011
I think it's a cool concept, a ball isn't a "vehicle" that can be operated with conventional remote controls, so this can take some skill and practice and it seems to be pretty fun. I can think of a few drinking games to see who can roll the ball into a certain spot faster.
CreepyD
not rated yet Jan 10, 2011
I'd like to know how forward to you keeps in sync with forward to the ball.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2011
Amen to that gvgoebel, I have 10 cats altogether and I can hardly wait to get this.

Are you one of those crazy cat people?
Hakaha_Kakala
not rated yet Jan 10, 2011
The smartest in the video is definitely the phone!

Why should any one play with this. I believe little children doesn't need a smart-phone to play with a ball and older children like the big baby one in the video - maybe should consider other interests in life if ha/she don't want to be very lonely person.

This was absolutely the lamest idea in a very long time. A hipster idea without any doubt. The paper poster by the wall tells me there might be a very little boy in a grown mans body!
AlexT
not rated yet Jan 13, 2011
It feels like someone is trying to turn me into a house pet ... Who's a good boy? Yes, you're a good boy. Go get the ball! Bring me $100 while you at it! Good boy! ... Woof, woof.
Walter_Mrak
not rated yet Jan 14, 2011
When will we cease calling remotely controlled items robotic and start calling them by their real identifying characeristics? Among a robot's main qualities & features are its ability to perceive, assimilate information, and by using its own intelligence independantly, decide on its own unique course of action. We don't call a garage door robotic because we press the remote control in our car.