If you have a budding astro-engineer in need of a rover pal for the holidays, Amazon has cut the price of the Sphero RVR Coding Robot by 20% this holiday season.
The sale is a $50 markdown from the Sphero RVR's typical price of $249.99 for the sleek, versatile robot. There are a lot of robots and STEAM rover kits out there, but the Sphero RVR stands out with the rugged design and cornucopia of programmable features to teach coding to kids (and maybe some adults like yours truly).
Sphero RVR carries a color sensor, light meter and infrared (IR) sensor), along with some programmable RGB lights that make it look like something straight out of "Tron." It also has an accelerometer and gyroscope on board, and its rechargeable battery is removable.
My colleague Avram Piltch at our sister site Tom's Hardware has been testing the Sphere RVR for the last few weeks and thinks its best qualities are a built-in serial port, which allows users to connect a Raspberry Pi, and a USB port and mounting plate to support the computer add-on. He had this to say about the Sphero RVR:
"Using Sphero's python API and a Raspberry Pi Zero W, my son and I programmed our RVR to change its LED lights to match whatever the color sensor sees. Even better, we could attach a robotic arm, a live streaming camera or any other set of sensors to the Pi and use those to control the RVR."
The folks at Sphero clearly think there's more than just fun uses for the RVR. They envision its potential use as a remote weather monitor for outdoor work.
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Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of Space.com and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became Space.com's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining Space.com, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at Space.com and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.
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