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Sphero's Unsolicited Ideas Policy
Airplane Travel with Sphero
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Where Did the Sphero Mini App Go?
Sphero Mini Disconnects when Plugged In
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- Sphero Virtual Robot Beta
Sphero Virtual Robot Beta
Updated by Brian Kellner
Sphero Virtual Robot Beta
On the latest releases of the iOS and Android Sphero Edu apps (version 6.3.0), there is now a capability to create simple block programs which control a graphical robot displayed on the screen of your app. NOTE: The Android Sphero Edu app works on most recent Chromebooks. Learn more here
The goal of this feature is to let users create programs for Sphero robots even if they don't physically have a robot. The feature is being released in beta to gather feedback. You can send us feedback in two ways:
Email us with feedback or any errors you find at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Complete our 2-question feedback survey.
How to Use the Virtual Robot
When creating a new program, you will see the "Virtual Bot - BETA" option under program types at the top right.
When you select this option, all of the robot choices are disabled. Just enter a title and tap the "Create" button.
All programs for the virtual robot are block programs in the beta release. If you've used block programming in Sphero Edu before, you will notice that the programming screen for has only a few blocks. The goal of the beta is to keep the experience as simple as possible, so Draw and Text programming are not supported.
You create programs just like you would for any Sphero robot. The "roll" block moves the robot, the "main LED" block changes color, etc. The sound block has fewer options than the standard one in Sphero Edu, and the LED block works best if you set the colors to either 255 or 0.
When you're done with your program, you can tap the "Start" button on the left to run it on your virtual robot. NOTE: You can run the same program on a physical Sphero robot as well. To do that, tap the Connect to Robot button.
When you tap the Start button, you should see a white screen with a loading animation circling in the middle. The virtual world is being downloaded during this time to display on your device. Note: You must have an active internet connection to use the virtual robot. Also, not all devices can display the virtual world. You may see a message saying your device does not support it or you may see a "script error" message. If you see this, you'll have to try testing out the virtual robot on another device.
When the virtual world successfully loads, your screen should look like the image below (these screenshots are from the Android Sphero Edu app - iOS is slightly different). The green button in the middle will start the program. The "reload" symbol will load the world again, so you can run the program again. The "X" will exit the world and get you back to your program.
You can change the view by pinching to fingers together or spreading them apart on the screen to zoom out or in, and you can rotate the view by moving one finger horizontally. Below is an example of what this might look like.
- Each square on the virtual world grid correlates to roughly 10cm in the real world if the program was run on a Sphero Mini. So, if your roll command caused the virtual robot to move four squares on the grid, a real Mini should move roughly 40cm running the same command. This is designed to be generally accurate, but many things can affect both the virtual robot and a real Mini.
- Within the virtual world, running the same program can produce slightly different results. The virtual robot may move a slightly different distances for the same roll command.
- The virtual robot can knock over the pins and cones with ease. It can also have some varying results going over the ramps. The beta release is not designed to be a high-fidelity physics simulation - but hopefully it's fun!
- Programs created with the virtual bot type can only be seen on the iOS and Android version 6.3 clients. You can save these programs in your account, but if you login via the web, use a Mac or Windows Sphero Edu app, use the old (non-Android) Sphero Edu app on a Chromebook, or a version before 6.3.0 on iOS and Android, you won't see the virtual robot programs. This is because we don't want to show you those programs somewhere that they cannot run.
- You should never be able to use more than the limited set of block programming commands for the virtual robot. If you make a normal block program, you will have all the block choices, but you can't run it on the virtual robot.
- Sharing of virtual robot programs is not supported in this beta release.
- The virtual robot beta is only in English.
- The restriction on only supporting iOS 14 and later has been removed as of May 24. If you got an error trying to use an older version of iOS in the initial release, you may still experience an error now because your iPhone may have stored copies of the problem files locally.
- If you experience errors, we would prefer to have them reported to our feedback email address email@example.com versus reporting them to our customer support team. When you do, it is very helpful if you tell us the type of device (iOS, Android, Chromebook) and the operating system. One of the goals of the beta is to understand how the virtual world runs on different devices.