The Sphero – a robotic toy for your dog
Why would we here on Puppy Tales be talking about a small futuristic robotic ball that you control using your phone or ipad? Well, it might be part of a new breed of pet accessories that will help you entertain your dog and cat in the future.
You know those little laser pointers that everyone used to have before they were banned? (In Australia, anyway). I had a small one in the cat’s toy basket and it was their favourite toy. Sure, they would happily attack a piece of wool or ribbon dangled from a stick but their proximity to my body would always limit their crazy games. The laser on the other hand allowed them to belt over the back of the lounge, jump up the walls and shimmy along the skirting boards. They loved this wild play and it was always great exercise.
So with this in mind, let me introduce you to Sphero 2.0! It might just be the new generation of pet toy that you can use remotely without any of the dangers of a laser.
So what is Sphero?
Sphero is a robotic ball with an outer shell made of a high impact polycarbonate shell. Sphero connects via bluetooth to your mobile device and is then controlled by an application you need to download from iTunes or the Google Play app stores. The app has lots of features but its main purpose is to let you steer Sphero as it rolls around the floor. The app also has gaming components so you can upgrade aspects of the Sphero as you gain points.
A few of the Sphero’s features include:
* A long battery life (compared to other robotic devices) of around 1 hour. And it charges in 3-4 hours.
* It travels across flat floors at 2 meters per second – yes, pretty speedy!
* You can change the colour of the Sphero using the colour wheel in the application interface.
* A lot of additional apps that use the Sphero to play games are available on the app stores. These include games where your Sphero might adopt the form of a character that you see and operate through your phone’s camera.
* Even when you and your mobile device are 20 meters away from your Sphero it will still work.
There are tonnes more things the Sphero does like little dances and crazy tricks but let’s focus on how your dog (or cat) might be able to play with it.
Sphero and your pet
Sphero has lots of features that make it a exciting toy for you and your pet to use together. What could be more fun than a brightly coloured, unpredictable ball that moves independently. It jitters and shakes and spins, perfect for the curious dog who needs lots of stimulation. It is also durable and waterproof so your dog can pick it up in their mouth or drop it their water-bowl and it won’t cause any damage. While you definitely don’t want to make a habit of dropping your Sphero from a great height, ours has been dropped several times on timber floor boards and has survived with no dents or other ill effects.
If you really want to get into using it with your dog while swimming there is an actual Sphero accessory called the Nubby. This cover enables it to skim across water – perfect for the eager dog that loves to swim after something.
This is definitely the perfect gift for the dog and dog owner who have everything. I would also say it is more suitable for large dogs. But to be honest, in our house Cress and Eddie barely get a look in with the Sphero as the kids like to monopolise it. Its energy and crazy moves accompanied with the music from the app just makes them laugh all day long.
Check out the video below of a Golden Retriever having a lovely romp with his Sphero:
Disclaimer: Puppy Tales was sent a Sphero to try out but was not paid for this post and has no other affiliation with Sphero.