Sphero is a great platform for getting into Robotics, with a wide range of fun applications that can be education and informative.
… but what about those times when you really want to step on the gas and go for it. Well then you should take a look at Ollie.
Ollie takes the guts of Sphero, beefs them up, and the houses them in a slightly more robust, tube-like frame. Built with a fun-first attitude, Ollie can reach speeds of 14 mph and it’s really fun to just let rip. Getting started with Sphero’s was never complicated, but Ollie has a great “let’s play” feel to it. Once you power it on (just pop your Bluetooth LE phone next to it) you can whiz up and down at unreasonable speeds.
But Ollie isn’t just built for speed. The new unit has a decent number of actual tricks. This isn’t just spinning on the spot and flashing colours (a cool trick of the Sphere). You can drift, spin, jump and flip like a robotic traceur. The control mechanism is super simple (directions and a trick pad) and the ability to instantly do something cool is very rewarding. You can learn various combo moves, akin to Streetfighter and combined with the speed and the ramps you can do some reasonably impressive manoeuvres with very little practice.
Ollie has a durable polycarbonate shell and also comes with a range of tyres and hubcaps – partly for protection and partly for fashion. Rather than Sphero’s inductive charging, which was cool but proprietary, Ollie just uses UCB, so can be ready to roll almost anywhere.
I’m a big fan of the Sphero range in general, and with Ollie, a version of Sphero focussing solely on speed and tricks I think I’m in love.
Ollie is available immediately at Sphero for $99 (USD).