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Sphero’s SPRK+ Robot Ball Is More Battle-Ready

Sphero, perhaps best known for its insanely adorable BB-8 robot, has given its SPRK robot an upgrade.

The first SPRK was introduced last year as part of the company’s initiative “to put a robot in every home.” (SPRK is an acronym for “students, parents, robots, kids.”) While geared primarily to the education market, it is also sold through major CE retailers.

The upgrades given to the SPRK+ ball are subtle but significant. It now features tap-to-connect pairing, greatly reducing the amount of time needed to get rolling. This upgrade was implemented based on feedback the company received from teachers, who noted the individual pairing of multiple balls took away from instruction time.

The polycarbonate shell of the SPRK+, meanwhile, has been given an improved scratch-resistant coating but retains the see-through construction. Like its predecessor, the ball features inductive charging, LED lights, an accelerometer and gyroscope, and is waterproof, drop-proof and shock-proof.

Sphero has also redesigned the accompanying Lightning Lab app, allowing users to share photos and videos with one another, as well as codes for others to instantly use for their own devices. Many SPRK users had taken to Twitter as the way to share their experiences and codes, but now will be able to interact directly in the app. Additional Lightning Lab functionality is also planned.

Lightning Lab can be downloaded to iOS, Android and Kindle Fire devices.

The SPRK+ will carry the same $129 suggested retail as the previous version. It is currently available.