A cool interactive experience for kids.
It wasn’t too long ago that I saw my first Sphero robot. It was fun to play with although a little tough to get used to movement-wise. That experience was with the first generation Sphero and since that time, the company has branched out into licensed devices like the droids from Star Wars. When I had the opportunity to try out Spider-man by Sphero I thought, “How cool! My very own superhero!” As it turns out, Spider-man is a really great learning opporunity for kids.
Spider-man is designed to be an interactive companion. The device stands approximately 8 inches tall and weighs roughly 1 pound. It is iOS and Android compatible (with app download) and features Bluetooth Smart BLE connection. The character has a built-in microphone, high-fidelity speaker, and 3D accelerometer for interactivity with the user. It’s easy to clean and handle because it has a premium silicone exterior and it will survive for 2 hours of play on a full charge (charging base included). Set-up through the app is very, very easy. Once the app is downloaded, Spider-man uses Bluetooth to connect directly to your phone and then through your phone to your home WiFi.
The packaging is quite impressive and I have to say that it is adorned in the red/blue branding of Spider-man. It’s very classy looking and has a lot of great graphics on the outside of it. Spider-man himself is one solid piece. Other than plugging in his charging base with the Micro USB cable that is provided (no power adapter included), there is no other assembly required. Getting started with Spider-man is very easy, too. Once you have him plugged into power and charging, you download the app from the App Store (iTunes or Android) and power him on.
The first thing you will go through is a short warm-up to get you familiar with interacting with the hero. I want to point out here that Spider-man is stationary. He doesn’t move other than blinking his LED-driven eyes. That said, using him can still be a very enriching experience. You have the ability to talk directly to him and have him answer back. I could tell from the first few minutes that this Sphero was designed to be used with children more than adults because of the interactivity level. He is equipped with a microphone and speaker so voice interaction is very easy. The app is also very well-developed and comes complete with adventures that are ready to solved by the user and Spider-man working together. As an adult, I would have loved to see a bit more animation or movement from the statue itself, but if I were a child, I would love to have Spider-man by my side while I watched his adventures on screen or fighting battles in the app. Spider-man does look really cool. It’s apparent that a lot of detail and design went into making the figure. In addition to fighting bad guys in adventures, Spider-man can stand guard in a room (he will just report to you that there was motion/activity), act as an alarm, tell you jokes, and even watch TV with you (Spider-man animated series only).
Overall, I would recommend this for younger audiences. For an adult, Spider-man by Sphero is a little cheesy but for a kid, I could see this being a good experience for learning how to interact with an artificial intelligence-driven device. Spider-man by Sphero is a unique version of ‘create your own adventure’ for the next generation. He looks cool and makes it possible for kids to hang out with Spider-man at home.
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