DIY Project: Sphero Robot (Data & Interface)

By Tom Kelshaw, Director of Technology for Metalworks by Maxus

Ben Low, one of our research interns, put a video together of research on the Sphero robot. Sphero is a plastic ball containing a powered gyro that responds to sound and motion, and can be programmed to drive according to certain behaviours. You can drive it like a remote-controlled car via mobile, or program it to respond to external data.

What can we do with this?

  • Live data vizualization:  Think how awesome it would be to code a kinetic sculpture that illustrates movement of people, businesses, plane flights, money etc via hundreds of light-up Spheros in a public space. If you want a really cool way to map out action spatially or over time (see: Google's Gapminder Motion Charts) in physical space, we can help!
  • You could "float" a platform (like a surfboard) on top of 20 or so Spheros and drive them across a carpark. The controllers/pilots could be different people, all working in unison to ensure they drive in the correct direction. Great team-work challenge.
  • You could launch them into the ocean or a river (they're waterproof) to illustrate currents - like water-bound Chinese lanterns.