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Gadgets: Hands on: learn how to program with Sphero
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Gadgets: Hands on: learn how to program with Sphero

3:59 /

Orbotix co-founder Ian Bernstein shows Macrolab, an app that's part of the SPRK program to teach kids programming using the Sphero robotic ball.

Here with us today is Ian Bernstein, co-founder of Orbotix. Now, you've brought the Ollie in to show us. Apart from the shape, how does the Ollie differ from the Sphero? so, unlike Sphero, which is sort of a more general device, you can do a lot of different things with Sphero, Ollie is really just about driving. Crazy, crazy, driving, fun and tricks. So Ollie actually goes about six and a half meters per second. If you hit a little ramp on the ground that's maybe ten centimeters tall, it can jump about a meter and a half in the air. And when you're in the air, you can do different tricks. You can cause, cause it to spin directions repeatedly. Do different tricks, record those tricks, and share them with your friends. So, a month and a half ago you launched Spark. Yeah. Why don't you tell us a bit about Spark. So, Spark is our programme to teach kids, programming and basic math skills. So right now, we're using Sphero in schools. So we have over a thousand Spheros in over 125 schools museums and other places. Where they're teaching these kids programming using a couple of our apps. So we have an app that we've created for the phone called MacroLab that lets you put a series of commands in visually, so you don't have to write any code, and then you can play that sequence back. Alright, so I'm gonna give you a quick demo here of MacroLab. [MUSIC] And we're gonna program the bulb to change color and then drive forward for a certain amount of time. So you hit this little little plus sign to say drive is the name of our macro. And now you can hit this plus sign in the corner to add all these different commands. So we're gonna add a RGB color command. We can set the color to whatever we want. With red, green, and blue. [MUSIC] We'll create that. And then we'll add a new command. We're conna add a roll command. So you can give it a speed. So we'll say, a little over half speed. And then you give it an angle from 0 to 360 degrees. We'll say zero degrees, which will make it go straight. We'll create that. Now we also need to give it a little bit of a delay. So, how long is it gonna drive forward? So, we'll go down to the Delay command. And this is in milliseconds. So 1,000 milliseconds is one second. So we'll create that. And then, after we try it, we want it to stop. So, we're gonna add a Stop command. So now, if I hit this little Play button on the bottom, Sphero is gonna drive forward for one second. And how have kids been responding to this program? It's been great. Super awesome. I think because it's, it's a, it's a fun gaming robot, and there's all these games, and they get to play around with it and then program it, they kind of come at it from a different angle. So, it's not, it's not an educational robot that doesn't do anything until they program it. It's a fun gaming robot that they also get to program. So, the kids have so much fun. And, if, if they want to take a little break from programming they can watch one of our apps and play the game for a little bit and then go back to programming. And, you know, they get really excited. [MUSIC] The app MacroLab was actually built for our internal developers, so that we could quickly just test little ideas without having to write any code. And I forget how it sort of got out to kids, but we realized that this app, you know, was so much cooler than just, you know, using it internally, so we ended up launching it in the app store. And then we went to a couple of schools to start, you know, to see if the idea actually worked. To use it a teaching tool or a teaching app. And, yeah, I mean, just seeing the reaction of the kids was awesome, and we launched our Spark program a month and a half ago, on April 15. [MUSIC]

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