Before we get down to business, we just want to make sure you heard the big news from yesterday. President Barack Obama was in town and took Sphero for a drive! What did he say as he reached over to borrow Ross’s iPhone? “Let me drive this around for a second. Excuse me, give me some space to drive my ball.” Ending with “that’s terrific!” A pretty good endorsement from the President of the United States!
In other news, we’ve announced our Sphero Hack Tour! We’ll be taking the Sphero SDK on the road, stopping in seven cities, and giving away over $12,000 to developers of the best hacks in each city. All information is located on our developer page.
Now, what you’ve all been waiting for – new Sphero apps! Get ready to experience Sphero like never before. Chromo and MacroLab are ready to roll to your device. For iOS users, Chromo is available on the iTunes store, and MacroLab will follow in the next couple of days. For Android users, MacroLab is available on Google Play. Why are we so excited to let these two new apps into the wild? We’ll tell you why!
Chromo allows you to play with Sphero in a whole new way. While our other apps allow you to control Sphero from your device (kinetically and via a digital joystick), now Sphero is the controller. Chromo has six different modes for you to test your coordination and memory. Match the color. Beat the clock. Initially, Chromo is available for iOS only. Don’t worry Android users, we have another app up our sleeves that will make the wait worth it. Keep posted for announcements!
MacroLab lets techies and aspiring programmers unleash Sphero’s inner robot by creating easy, repeatable programs and macros for Sphero. Arrange commands and settings in any combination you choose. Play your commands, save favorites, and even share them with friends. We’ve even given you a handfull of pre-loaded macros to get you started. Multiball capability, like that shown in the video, is available for Android devices. If you need help getting started, check out our MacroLab Tutorial Videos. We can’t wait to hear what you think of these two new apps. Game on!
There is even more good news. To keep Sphero the smartest, quickest robotic ball possible, we have released a new firmware update. Sphero’s firmware is a complex program that provides all of the features that makes Sphero what he is – how he communicates, how he drives, etc. It is technically software, but we call it firmware because it’s a bit more involved to upgrade. If you’ve ever updated your iOS or Android operating system on your smartphone, then you’ve updated part of its firmware. Every time Orbotix releases new firmware for Sphero, it contains improvements in stability control for driving, new features to support more complex games and smartphone apps, additional tools to help with technical support, and tweaks that our users have requested.
So what does this new firmware mean for you? We have done a massive update to the driving system that makes Sphero much more stable, with improved turning. You might notice Sphero rolls smoother, especially on tight turns, and is less likely to get “stuck” on walls. Also, the low battery warning is easier to see, and we’ve added collision detection! Expect some really cool apps that use this functionality in the future.
Installing the new Firmware
1. Turn on your Sphero by giving it a hard double shake.
2. (iOS) Be sure your Sphero is connected in the Bluetooth settings or (Android) make sure your Sphero is paired.
3. Launch the main “Sphero” app and it will prompt you to update the firmware. The firmware update should take about 20-30 seconds to complete.
We’re on a quest to make your Sphero into the smartest and most capable robot ever. Now go have a ball. Yes you can!