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TechnologySphero's new Mini Activity Kit lets you build a robot obstacle course

22:40  06 september  2019
22:40  06 september  2019 Source:   cnet.com

Sphero acquires LittleBits and eyes international growth

Sphero acquires LittleBits and eyes international growth The popular STEAM education company Sphero announced today that it has acquired LittleBits. You may remember LittleBits as the company behind toys that teach kids about electronics, and Sphero has made a name for itself creating educational coding robots. Together, the companies plan to bring STEAM and coding products to more classrooms, homes and educational programs. Combined, Sphero and LittleBits have sold more than $500 million in robots and electronics. They've reached over six million students globally. And with this acquisition, Sphero now has over 140 patents in robotics, electronics, software and IoT.

Sphero, the robotics and STEM-based learning company, unveiled a new Mini Activity Kit on Friday that aims to make coding fun for kids. The kit, which goes on sale Oct. 2 for $79.99, includes one of Sphero's mini robotic balls and accessories that can be assembled into mazes, tunnels and more. Sphero said it also comes with 15 different Activity Cards that have step-by-step instructions for different play experiences.

Sphero's new Mini Activity Kit lets you build a robot obstacle course© Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Sphero's new activity kit says it'll make learning coding easier. Sphero Sphero's new Mini Activity Kit lets you build a robot obstacle course© CNET

Sphero's new activity kit says it'll make learning coding easier.

"Mini Activity Kit takes our popular Mini robot a step further by offering an affordable at-home learning experience that mirrors guided lessons taught in schools," said Sphero CEO Paul Berberian in a release. "We wanted to give kids and their parents even more tools to create, explore and invent."

The ISS' spherical robot helper has returned to Earth

The ISS' spherical robot helper has returned to Earth Humans are one step closer to having robot assistants in space. The IBM- and Airbus-made CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile Companion) robot returned to Earth on August 27th after successful testing aboard the International Space Station. The spherical machine demonstrated both its AI skills (such as recognizing astronauts and offering instructions) as well as its ability to float through the ISS. Don't think this is the end to the experiments, though -- this is really just the start. The partners have been working on a successor that should build on the lessons learned from the first-generation robot.

The mini robot's battery is equipped for 45 minutes of playtime and it packs in a gyroscope, accelerometer and LED lights. The company said a variety of mini games, different drive modes and the ability to change the LED light colors are available in the Sphero Play app. Kids will also be able to try out the upcoming code-based Block Drive mode, available Sept. 16, which is meant to serve as a friendly introduction to basic robot coding.

While playing with the Sphero Mini Activity Kit, players will start by drawing paths and then transition into basic scratch blocks. Sphero says that eventually have they'll have ability to write their own JavaScript text programs using actions, controls, operators and more.

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The education-focused robotics platform is now available. I gave it a test drive.Sphero RVR is mainly targeted at schools and educational programs, but the $250 robot could be used as a home robot if your kid was into programming. It pairs easily with a phone/tablet app and can work as a remote control car, but it also can be programmed using Scratch or Javascript.

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