Sphero RVR details: The DIY do-anything robot

Chris Burns - Feb 19, 2019, 11:50 am CST
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Sphero RVR details: The DIY do-anything robot

This morning Sphero revealed a project called Sphero RVR, a do-it-yourself robot. This robot works with simple-to-use software and 3rd-party hardware, and is part of a Kickstarter right out the gate. In less than 12 hours, the project reached $145k of its $150k goal (with 30 days left to go).

This is RVR, an extension of the Sphero Edu app into a fabulous do-it-all robotic creature. The base of the robot is a car-like machine, what with its four wheels and a rectangular (nearly square) body. On its top is a connection platform, on which a “universal expansion port” works with onboard power to work with a wide variety of already-made bits of hardware, like Arduino, BBC micro-bit, and Raspberry Pi.

This robot can be driven right out the box if you don’t want to do anything beyond the basics – with the Sphero Edu app on your smartphone or tablet. The motors in this machine are high-torque and the tracks are rubbery and ready to hold fast up steep hills. This remote-controlled robot is powered with a removable, rechargeable battery that’s super simple – like the power pack battery you might have in your backpack or purse right now.

This robot comes fully assembled, but can be fully taken apart, piece by piece. This is a very user-friendly teardown-friendly piece of equipment.

Inside the robot are a color sensor, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, ir-sensor, and light sensor. The folks that built this machine created a ready-to-use library of code samples for 3rd-party ad-on systems like Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and micro:bit – with room for expansion in excess.

Sphero RVR Features:
• Removable, rechargeable high-capacity battery
• USB-C charging
• Included battery key
• 4-Pin UART port (RX, TX, GND, 5V, with 3.3V signals)
• 5V 2.1A USB-A onboard power + data
• Removable cover plate with quick-release button
• Removable protective roll cage
• Interchangeable tops
• Neutral design adaptable to a multitude of use cases
• Ambient light sensor
• RGB sensor w/ normalizing LED and focus lens
• Full 9-axis IMU – accelerometer, gyro, magnetometer
• 10 individually addressable RGB LEDs
• IR sensors
• High-resolution 20-pole magnetic encoders
• Hypergrip all-terrain treads
• High 20mm clearance
• 22.5:1 gear ratio w/ incredible speed to accuracy ratio
• High-power, compact motors with enough torque to climb a wall

This project starts its life as a Kickstarter campaign. In said campaign, the first, lowest price for a Sphero RVR unit is approximately $199. In this project, Sphero suggests that MSRP for the Sphero RVR is $249 – with estimated delivery date of October of 2019.

This new Sphero RVR project will host its own live stream on its crowdfunding page over at Kickstarter on February 20th at noon, CST. That live stream was listed as “RVR: Tech and Team,” and it promised to bring on an introduction to RVR, and the tech, and the team behind the tech.

Coding for this robot works with as-simple-as-possible software in the Sphero Edu app. You might remember this piece of software from the Sphero Bolt robot – in its latest edition released in September of 2018.


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