Why is MacroLab one of our favorite apps for Sphero? It’s not just because it makes us all feel like programmers. The macro system we have developed for Sphero has very practical applications, such as teaching kids procedural thinking and basic programming skills. With MacroLab, you can arrange commands and settings in any combination you choose to let Sphero drive autonomously, follow unique patterns, and more. For starters, you can easily create a macro to have Sphero flash a color sequence. Boom, now you’re a programmer! One Sphero fan even made this cool Sphero dance using MacroLab.
MacroLab also exposes a very powerful feature of Sphero that we’ve been working on for a year: the Macro Executive. That’s fancy programmer-talk for a portion of the Sphero firmware that accepts blocks of instructions. If you want to get even more complicated, the Macro Executive lets programmers and app developers do things in their Sphero apps like cross-fade between two LED colors and rotate arbitrary angular distances over a given time. Sound techy enough? What it really means is that Sphero is one powerful multi-tasker with infinite possibilities.
What does this mean for you? Well we don’t want to give away all the surprises but as an example, we will release an app next month that will let you drive Sphero and press a button on-screen to execute macro commands at the same time. That command could change Sphero’s color, give Sphero a boost, or even make Sphero’s taillight turn on and off while you’re driving. It all depends on what macro’s you load up and use. Pretty cool, huh?
For those of you who want more nitty-gritty details on the technology, check out our post on MacroLab on the Developer Blog. Hint: you’ll be able to geek out over terms like “variable command sequencing” and “parallelism”. Bazinga!