原创译文 | Sphero发布Spark Bolt,AI机器人进攻教育领域

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导读:9月10日,总部位于科罗拉多州丹佛市的创业公司Sphero从其Skunkworks实验室发布了Spark Bolt,这是一款经过升级的Sprk +,带有一些新的铃声和口哨声。。(文末更多往期译文推荐)

自Sphero宣布Sprk+已经过去大约两年了,Sprk+是一款塑料材质,可编程的,应用程序启用的机器人球,用于编程教育。过去的几个月,该公司与迪士尼合作推出了Ultimate Lightning McQueen,R2D2,BB-9E和Spider-Man等产品,并推出了更便宜,体积更小的Sprk+伴侣 - Sphero Mini,这款伴侣产品更少关注教育,更多关注游戏和活动。

9月10日,这家总部位于科罗拉多州丹佛市的创业公司Sphero从其Skunkworks实验室推出了Spark Bolt,这是一款经过升级的Sprk +,带有一些新的铃声和口哨声。

根据联合创始人兼首席架构师亚当威尔逊的说法,该产品表现了Sphero对教育领域的重视。他说,已有超过20,000所学校将公司的产品纳入其课程。

“在过去的两年里,我们学会了如何打造一个新特色,”威尔逊在电话采访中告诉记者,“我们的产品一直都提供可编程功能。当然如果你不想对其编程,你可以选择不编程。我们鼓励你玩这些功能,因为Bolt有更深入的编程组件。“

Bolt拥有防紫外线透明塑料外壳,具有防水和“高度耐用”的特点,可点击传感器包括磁力计,加速度计,环境光传感器,电机编码器和陀螺仪,可点击传感器来跟踪其速度,加速度和方向。蓝牙智能芯片将其与100英尺以外的智能手机和平板电脑配对,于是 用户可以通过智能手机及平板电脑控制Bolt。

“我们从教育工作者那里得到了很多反馈,”威尔逊说。 “我们将这些反馈和我们认为最酷的事情结合在一起设计Bolt。”

一直以来的难点是电池寿命,老师想要一个可以持续一整天的机器人,而不仅仅是两三节课的长度。因此,Sphero的工程师用一个电池充电Bolt,充电一次可以续航超过两个小时,大约是Sprk +电池续航时间的两倍。

此外,Bolt的亮点可能在于它的显示效果:一个8 x 8多色LED屏幕,可以实时动画。它可以编程显示几乎任何东西,从游戏到酷炫的设计,Bolt传感器获得数据,编程显示在屏幕上。Bolt有一个一个预装的游戏演示:《蛇》,用户通过在一个轴线上倾斜Bolt来操纵一条屏幕上的线。

它几乎就像一个全输出显示器,”威尔逊说。“它能够显示你设计的各种内容,包括颜色和形状以及其他不同的显示项目。”

另一个值得注意的改进是新的红外传感器,它允许多个Bolt相互通信。威尔逊表示,它与LED屏幕配合使用时特别方便 , 例如,Sphero团队使用它来编写一个现实生活中的吃豆人游戏,其中一个Bolt充当玩家角色,另外四个作为幽灵代表。

其他硬件增加包括用于读取房间亮度的光传感器和充当指南针的磁力计。

“这些传感器让你可以建立一个真实的输入和输出程序......这是一个更深入的学习体验,”威尔逊说。

Sphero的教育应用程序 - Sphero Edu - 也已升级。在具有大型显示器的平板电脑,Mac,Chromebook和Windows机器上,切换按钮允许用户将编程接口分成两部分,一部分包含Scratch可视化编程语言,另一部分包含Java语言。

“以前,你必须在经常对语言切换”威尔逊说,现在他们提供了按钮。

Sphero Bolt售价149美元(比Sprk +多20美元)并配有感应式充电座,贴纸和带有标记基本方向的量角器。 它还提供15个便携包,适用于教育工作者,起价为1,950美元。 在配件方面,有一个新的符合航空公司标准的Power Pack便携包,最多可存放15个单元,并装有迷宫胶带和其他外围设备。

至于Sphero接下来会发布什么,威尔逊拒绝透露,但表示新的品牌玩具并不会立即发布。

“我们很可能不会将来做特许产品,”威尔逊说,“除非有计划变动的事情出现。”

原文

Sphero launches Sphero Bolt

a light-up robot ball for education

It's been roughly two years since Sphero — the folks behind 2016's adorable BB-8 robot — announced Sprk+, a plastic, programmable, app-enabled robot ball that teaches coding. In the intervening months, the company collaborated with Disney on licensed products like Ultimate Lightning McQueen, R2D2, BB-9E, and Spider-Man, and debuted a cheaper, smaller Sprk+ companion — Sphero Mini— focused less on education and more on games and activities.

Today the Denver, Colorado-based startup reemerged from its Skunkworks labs with Spark Bolt, an upgraded Sprk+ with a few new bells and whistles.

According to Adam Wilson, cofounder and chief architect, it's something of a recommitment to education for Sphero. More than 20,000 schools have already incorporated the company's products into their curriculums, he said.

"Over the past two years, we learned how to build a character,"Wilson told VentureBeat in a phone interview, "[and] there's always been a programming aspect to our products. You don't have to program if you don't want to — we encourage you to play with the products — but there's a deeper programming [component] to Bolt.”

Bolt boasts a UV-coated clear plastic shell that's waterproof and "highly durable"and taps sensors — including a magnetometer, accelerometer, ambient light sensors, motor encoders, and gyroscope — to keep track of its speed, acceleration, and direction. A Bluetooth Smart chip pairs it to smartphones and tablets up to 100 feet away, allowing them to act as its controllers.

“We got a lot of feedback from educators,”Wilson said. “We put all of it together, along with what we thought would be the coolest thing to do.”

One recurring theme was battery life — teachers wanted a robot that would last all day, not just the length of two or three classes. So Sphero’s engineers stuffed Bolt with a power pack that lasts more than two hours on a charge, about double the battery life of Sprk+.

But Bolt's highlight might be its display: an 8 x 8 multicolor LED matrix that animates in real time. It can be programmed to show pretty much anything, from games to cool designs that react to data from Bolt’s sensors. One preloaded demo — Snake — has users maneuver a line by tilting the Bolt in on its axes.

“It's almost like a full-output display,” Wilson said. “It expands the amount of content you can make for Bolt … [like] colors and shapes and different display items.”

Another noteworthy improvement is a new infrared sensor that allows multiple Bolts to communicate with each other. It's especially handy when used in tandem with the LED matrix, Wilson said — the Sphero team used it to program a real-life game of Pac-Man, for example, where one Bolt acts as a player character and four others stand in as ghosts.

Other hardware additions include an ambient light sensor that can read the brightness of a room and a magnetometer, which acts as a compass.

“[These sensors] let you build a real program with inputs and outputs … It's a much deeper learning experience,” Wilson said.

Sphero's app for education — Sphero Edu — has also been upgraded. On tablets, Macs, Chromebooks, and Windows machines with large displays, a toggle button lets users split the programming interface in two, with one side containing the Scratch visual programming language and the other its Java equivalent.

“Previously, you had to switch [between them] a lot,” Wilson said.

The Sphero Bolt costs $149 ($20 more than Sprk+) and comes with an inductive charging cradle, stickers, and a protractor with labeled cardinal directions. It's also available in a 15-pack for educators that starts at $1,950. On the accessories front, there's a new airline-compliant Power Pack carrying case that stores up to 15 units and comes loaded with maze tape and other peripherals.

As for what comes next for Sphero, Wilson declined to spill the beans but said that new branded toys aren't in the immediate pipeline.

“We most likely won't be doing [licensed] products [in the near future],” Wilson said, “[unless] the right thing comes around.”

文章编辑:小雨

原文发布于微信公众号 - 灯塔大数据(DTbigdata)

原文发表时间:2018-09-12

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