Prepare to add another explorer to the history books. With fans like you at the controls, Sphero has officially rolled around the entire circumference of the Earth! For a robot that fits in the palm of your hand, we think rolling this is a milestone worth celebrating. Get the stats below on your combined Sphero accomplishments here.
The Making of Sphero – Peacekeeper Edition
When we launched a 3-foot tall version of Sphero called the Peacekeeper Edition on April Fool's Day, everyone thought it was a joke. It wasn't. Read on to find out how we made a functioning Sphero over 2500x the size of the original.
Augmented Reality for Sphero: Sharky the Beaver.
Explore the world of augmented reality in the first app of its kind for Sphero, Sharky the Beaver. Drive Sphero in real life and watch a virtual beaver walk around through the screen of your device. See Sharky in action and download today!
New App! Sphero Nyan Cat SpaceParty.
There’s a party in space, and you’re invited. Sphero and Nyan Cat have come together to release Sphero Nyan Cat SpaceParty. Available for both iOS and Android, SpaceParty can be played as a stand-alone app or using Sphero. Find out more and download today.
Announcing 6 New Apps for Sphero!
We’re excited to announce the launch of 6 new apps, including our first multi-player apps and first arcade-style game. Check out our blog post for more info. You can also visit our apps page to see all of the apps.
Sphero is now rolling around on the coolest new social media site to hit the interwebs – Vine. It’s like a GIF, but better. To celebrate our recent roll-out, we’ve decided to unleash our inner preteen and put together a game of Sphero MASH using Vine videos. In case you’re unfamiliar, this retro game is an extremely inaccurate and awesome way to predict your future. Since we’re way past pen and paper during homeroom, here’s our version. Simply scroll down and click on each video to pause it and find out your destiny.
WHAT TECH JOB WILL YOU HAVE?
WHAT GEEK WILL YOU MARRY?
WHAT SPHERO APP WILL YOU PLAY?
WHAT TYPE OF BACON WILL YOU EAT?
WHAT CAT WILL YOU OWN?
Check us out on Vine @GoSphero to see behind-the-scenes footage from around our office and more! And don’t forget to tag your own videos with #Sphero. We can’t wait to see what six-second goodness you come up with.
Google Glass is a new paradigm in the world of connected computers, and the Orbotix team was lucky enough to receive this one last week at Google I/O in San Francisco. We’ve spent the majority of that week playing with our Glass, and have since loaded some apps of our own. Here’s how we made it happen it using Google Sky as our example.
For this tutorial we will show you how install Google Sky (also known as stardroid) without rooting your Glass or swapping roms. This is the same basic procedure you would go through to manually load an app on an Android phone, but since Google Glass has a limited amount of input, the specific app you install matters. Google Sky is perfect! It doesn’t require any user input other than the accelerometer and gyroscopic sensor data, but it will show you an amazing amount of information when looking at the night sky.
Before we begin it is important that you already have the Android SDK, most importantly you need ADB (android debug bridge). You also need to be somewhat familiar with opening a new terminal window. We used Mac 10.8+, but these same basic directions will work for Linux and might need a little modification for Windows. We also assume you download files to your home Download directory, but you can change this as needed. (~/Downloads)
Download and Install the Android SDK (http://developer.android.com/sdk/index.html). We find it helpful to have adb in your PATH so you can call it from anywhere (you may want to add it to your .bashrc or whatever you are using).
First things first, Put your Glass in “Debug Mode” in the settings on the Glass itself. Locate the device info and scroll right to turn Debug Mode on. Then plug your Glass into your computer using the USB micro cable.
Now grab a version of Google Sky that you want to install (this is the same for any Android .apk file).
Simply load the .apk file onto the Glass with adb.
After the .apk is loaded onto Glass you now need to use adb shell to run it. The trick here is that you need to figure out what Activity to run. You can use the adb command dumpsys to discover a plethora of information about your Glass. You can figure out the main activity for the .apk with a little help from grep, and since it was the last thing loaded we can also narrow this information down with a tail command.
This might take some time depending on your system, but it will eventually return something similar to this:
You now have the right information to start the app on Glass. We use the am command to start the app on Glass. Simply reformat the Activity call to follow the same format as the stardroid example call below:
At this point tap your Glass on and the app should be running. You will need to “down swipe” on your glass to cancel the agreement window. If you see the app running, disconnect, go outside, and check this out at nighttime! Warning: you may feel like a terminator with some kind of super power.
Note: this is not part of the Official Glass Mirror API that is displayed on your timeline and running apps full time like this is a drain on the battery, which is not in Google’s application design guidelines. It merely demonstrates how to sideload an app on Glass in your terminal without voiding your warranty.
Why we think this is awesome:
Some people will say that you can do this exact same thing with your smartphone, and we agree you can. But what fascinates us about this is a constant stream of information about our world, in real time, with little or no effort on our part. We can imagine apps like Google Googles, and other augmented reality apps and games becoming extremely valid in a world where they were just neat to show off on a phone. Nobody holds their phone up looking through the camera as they walk around – it’s just hard to do.
This all excites us when we relate it back to what we are doing at Orbotix. Augmented reality is part of our DNA, as Sphero is the perfect moving, trackable robot that allows nearly any 3D digital experience to be seamlessly stitched into our real world with little effort from the user. You see a 3D digital character like Sharky the Beaver magically appear on your living room floor and you can control it around your house.
We hope for this same magical experience from Google Glass as it is fully developed. It should naturally pop up information about the things around us based on our Google Now history and what I am looking at. If I have to manually tell it to “scan” a bar code, it’s doing it wrong. For now, this is the closest we have ever felt to being in a science fiction movie. Google Glass is an incredible step toward an amazing future and we’re looking forward to being a part of it.
This summer, make Sphero your go-to gadget. Not only is Sphero waterproof, sand proof, and shock proof – it’s the only appcessory that will leave you wishing your smartphone could keep up (in case you really want a waterproof smartphone, check these out). From the beach to the bonfire, this robot is 100% summer compatible. See how it’s done in the video below!
Send us your photos on Facebook or Twitter for the chance to be featured, and check out Instructables to see fun DIY projects like how to make your Sphero swim like Phelps. On your mark, get set, SUMMER!
Google I/O is one of the conferences the Sphero team looks forward to attending and exhibiting every year. This year was no different. Monday kicked things off with us showing Sphero at the Google campus in Mountain View with Google [X] employees. Tuesday night we had an interactive photo-booth where attendees could take picture with the Android character. We got over 300 pictures!
A notable highlight from the trip was giving the co-founder of Android, Rich Miner (pictured above) his very own custom Sphero. We’re big fans of what he helped create. Also Steve Aoki had something to say about Sphero.
May is Military Appreciation Month, and here at Orbotix we wanted to find our own special way to say thank you to all the brave men, women and families for the sacrifices they make in serving our nation.
In honor of the month long celebration, we decided to give what we know best to our military – fun and entertainment! First, we are donating Spheros and mobile devices to the USO. The USO is an incredible organization with a long history of bringing entertainment to our troops. We’re glad that Sphero now joins the ranks of the likes of Bob Hope, Marilyn Monroe, John Wayne, Jay Leno, Toby Keith, Ben Stiller and many others.
Second, we are offering a special Sphero discount to all military members and their families for $99 via TroopSwap. TroopSwap offers special discounts for service members, veterans and dependents. Founded by veterans, TroopSwap is dedicated to working with reputable, military-friendly businesses to offer special deals and everyday discounts. Check out their site for more information and to learn how you can get involved.
Thank you to our military and their families, from Sphero and the Orbotix team!