An absolutely awesome new robot is on its way to join the RobotFun collection. This is Sphero’s brand new ‘go anywhere, do anything’ robot, RVR. I backed the project to bring RVR to life on KickStarter back in March, and delivery is now expected at the beginning of November 2019. Initially, I’m going to have five of these robots available for workshops and parties. I have a feeling that they’re going to be extremely popular.
I’ve always been a fan of Sphero’s robots, right from when I started RobotFun. They’re invariably reliable, great fun to drive and easy to program using the Sphero EDU app. RVR promises to take things to the next level, though. The video linked below hopefully gives an idea why.
What makes RVR so special?
- It has lots of sensors built in – a colour sensor mounted under the chassis, plus a light sensor, a magnetometer, an accelerometer and a gyroscope. So it can tell where it is, which way it is pointing and can also tell you some useful things about its environment.
- RVR has a nice set of LED lights on its front, back and sides.
- It is built very solidly, and its tracked drive system is designed to keep it going in a straight line over very rugged terrain.
- It has an interchangeable roll cage on top. I’m quite looking forward to trying out the fetching green roll cage that is part of the Kickstarter reward package.
- It is programmable using the Sphero EDU app, just like its cousins.
- Unlike its cousins it has a swappable battery.
- It can communicate using its infra-red transceivers with other RVRs or Sphero Bolts. These other robots can automatically follow a lead RVR. This ability is going to make for some awesome demonstrations of swarms of robots…
But what really makes RVR stand out for me is its expandability. It is designed so that it can be connected to other hardware, including the Raspberry pi and BBC Micro:bit. The top plate of the robot is interchangeable, and can be used to mount other hardware, such as cameras, robotic arms, different sensors and so on. It is 3D printable, too, so you can design your own. I think that before long there will be a complete ecosystem of RVR accessories. A couple of autonomous driving sensor kits are already listed on Sphero’s site. I’m especially excited to see how Sphero’s recent acquisition of LittleBits will work with RVR. I’d love to see some reasonably priced RVR robotic extra sensor kits based on LittleBits.