Not many generations ago, playing with a ball was about as straightforward as it could be. You had limited options; you could throw it, catch it, roll it, and depending on the material, even bounce it. Still, that was plenty to ask from a simple sphere. It seems kids these days (and many adults too), however, are much harder to please. From smart-phone games to 3D televisions to hyper-realistic gaming consoles, there are distractions everywhere that provide far more entertaining stimulation and there is no way that the limited capabilities of a simple ball would ever suffice.

Then, a small company decided to fix that by making a new product called Sphero. The concept behind Sphero was relatively simple: give a regular, old ball futuristic, remote control capabilities and change the game for everyone. What they produced was a toy robot-ball that connects to your device via bluetooth, is controlled via an app, has a range of 50 feet and moves at speeds of 3 feet per second. Sphero charges using induction energy via a dock, its three-hour charging period provides one hour of use and it comes with optional grip skins for “off-road” use. Best of all, Sphero is pet-proof, waterproof and glows in hundreds of colors.

For this holiday season, Orbotix, the company that manufactured the first Sphero, has stepped up their game, launching a new upgraded version called Sphero 2.0. Like it’s predecessor, Sphero 2.0 connects to your smart-phone or tablet via bluetooth to provide remote control capabilities, is waterproof and pet-proof and still lights up. The new 2.0 model, however, boasts increased speeds of up to 7 feet per second and a range of 100 feet.

Both devices grant their users access to the same amazing range of features that the Sphero is capable of accessing, for free with the purchase of the ball. From augmented reality games that use your device’s camera, to re-invented party games, the Sphero is sort of a toy for all ages. What’s best is that there is no waiting for this magic ball to be produced. It’s already real and shipping and under $200 bucks. For the first holiday in years, we are catching ourselves seriously wanting a ball.

You can find much more information on this awesome product on their website, but since there is nothing better than seeing the Sphero in action, we recommend you start with the video below, which basically explains the Sphero and what it can do in a nutshell. Both the Sphero and Sphero 2.0 are available for sale online here. A limited edition model called “Sphero 2.0: Revealed” is also available. This special edition does all the same things as the regular 2.0 model, but within a semi-clear casing, allowing you to see the robot inside in action.

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Category: Technology