Sphero’s new robot is geared towards hackers, tinkerers, and engineers looking for a truly customizable experience. This little bot can be a home security system or just a cool racecar (Image credit: Sphero)


Sphero is known for their high tech robotic toys, like the adorable BB-8. But now, the company is moving away from toys and getting into the educational market. While it offers a programming app that can be used for their current bots, there wasn’t anything for kids ready to move on to the next step and tinker with robots. Sphero is changing that with its new robot called the RVR.


Pronounced Rover, it’s the first robot specially made to be physically modded. Designed like a mini tank, the bot is highly customizable making it ideal for tinkerers, hackers, and hobbyists. It has a diverse group of sensors, including ones that give RVR precise and accurate driving. If it gets off track, it’ll course correct itself. It also comes equipped with light sensors, magnetometer, accelerometer, and a gyroscope. But builders will be most interested in the universal expansion port that allows you to attach and run third-party hardware like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and BBC Micro:bit.


For more advanced users who prefer creating their own circuit boards, RVR comes with a standard 4-pin UART port so you can easily put together a custom configuration of parts without worrying about proprietary connectors. And if you don’t like the current mounting plate, Sphere will release designs that can be 3D printed as replacements customized for your needs.


Sphero wants RVR to be truly customizable. They’re making it as open as possible to create whatever you can think of. Thanks to RVR’s onboard sensors suite, control system, and Sphero Edu app, the possibilities are endless. Turn RVR into a battle bot or a home security sentry. You can even customize it as a metal detector or a personalized mobile voice assistant. And if you don’t want to mod RVR at all, it’s still an impressive remote control car. You can even equip a special plate with a turtleback roof for flips if you just want to drive.


Aside from creating a robot that’s fully customizable and has a wide appeal for tinkerers no matter their skill level, Sphero also hopes RVR will “engage more students and teachers through hands-on, fun technology that leverages the power of play.”  


While RVR will be launching this fall, you can get in on an early pre-order on Kickstarter. Early backers will pay $199 for a unit; the retail price is $249.


Thinking about getting one to do Micro:bit projects with. See some of my Micro:bit gadgets here.


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