Cellphone-controlled gadgets that move according to how you tilt the handset aren't new, but unlike Parrot's AR.Drone the GearBox ball won't fall from the sky if its batteries run down unexpectedly. Currently in prototype stage, the wireless robotic sphere hooks up to a smartphone via Bluetooth and then trundles about when you move the phone. It's not just an alternative to a pet dog, however; GearBox envisage various single and multi-player games, too.
Video demo after the cut
They've kicked off with a game they call Sumo, where two players put their balls on the table and then attempt to knock each-other's off. On the cellphone display, meanwhile, are various stats including damage, online leaderboards and other information; you could also collect power-ups, like temporarily reversing your opponent's controls.
Other ideas include a virtual golf game or a "Cat App" which would be intended for those wanting to confuse their felines. Alternatively, since the ball is hooked up to a data-connected phone, it could show ambient data via color (or in fact anything else hooked up to its eight digital outputs) as it sits in its desktop charging cradle. No word on when we might be able to buy GearBox's toys - or indeed the API-accompanied control board at the heart of it - but we're hoping it's soon.