Sphero RVR review – Stuff

This is where it gets technical. If you want to do more than just drive it through puddles splashing onlookers – not that there’s anything wrong with that – the RVR has a host of programming options to play with.

Using the Sphero Edu app (the same one that controls the Sphero Bolt, and other Sphero robots), you can programme the ‘bot to perform a series of actions. For example, you can have it turn at a certain angle, move forward for a set number of seconds, flash its lights, make noises and even say phrases. Perfect for terrorising toddlers and pets.

The app is pretty simple to use, and is suitable for all levels, from beginners to experts. New to the world of robots? You can doodle a route on-screen with your finger, and watch the RVR drive it. When you’re ready for the next step, you can set actions by blocks; these are basically predetermined sets of actions. All you have to do is fill in the blanks to personalise them (“drive forward for XX seconds”, for example) and choose what order they go in. It’s so simple a child could master it. Which is kind of the point, given Sphero’s intention to have RVR in classrooms across the country. 

Text programming is more complicated, as it requires you to enter JavaScript code. But as with all of these options, you hit the green Start button at the top to set the RVR off following your instructions.

As we say, the RVR also plays nice with mini coding computers like the Raspberry Pi, BBC micro:bit, Arduino and Sphero’s own littleBits. We didn’t have any of these to hand, so couldn’t test them out. But considering you can modify the RVR with add-ons like a robot arm, we predict coders are going to love it.

On-board sensors include colour, light, IR, a magnetometer, accelerometer and gyroscope, so you have plenty of options at your fingertips. You can even take photos and videos of it in action using the in-app camera, and record your adventures from the RVR’s viewpoint using an optional add-on camera (which costs extra). Perfect for adrenaline junkies.

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