NEW YORK — Sphero is rolling STEM toward consumers.
The robotics toy manufacturer is launching a consumer version of its SPRK (schools, parents, robots, kids) robotic ball that draws on the current STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) push in schools. The ball can be programmed via an iOS or Android device using a C-based block language the company developed, known as Oval.
The language and the device have already been used in more than 2,500 schools across the country, and Sphero has been working with educators to receive feedback and modify the program. It has also created an Oval wiki, and the company hopes it will eventually become a top coding language.
Sphero also offers dozens of apps and lesson plans that allow for device interaction and game play, and it’s developing a sharing community (slated for December) that will allow consumers to share videos and code.
“We hope to put a robot in every home,” Kelly Nyland-Zachos, global marketing senior VP, creative and experience design, told TWICE.
The SPRK was developed with mothers particularly in mind, Nyland-Zachos noted, with careful attention paid toward keeping the packaging approachable. It’s hoped SPRK will get moms more involved in coding, she said, as that’s an underserved group who has demonstrated an interest in the category.
The SPRK will be sold at retail at $129 suggested retail. At launch, it will be available in Apple, Target, Brookstone and Urban Outfitters locations, among others.