The recent news of the demise of Opportunity on Mars begs the question, how do we inspire the next generation of rover designers and makers?
We’re big fans of letting learners design their own rover experiments and experiences in the classroom, it’s why we designed our mini Mars rover as one of our hero projects at Bett recently. So we were delighted to hear that our friends over at Sphero are also launching a new rover product, called RVR.
Hunter W. Clawson, Vice President of Creative Services at Sphero explains more, “RVR is Sphero’s revolutionary take on the programmable robot. It’s drivable right out of the box, packed with a diverse suite of sensors, and built for customization. This robot is a hackable mobile platform for beginners, educators, students, and tech hobbyists.”
At pi-top, we like the sound of all that, but what’s potentially really interesting is how this new product can work works with third-party products; Hunter Clawson again, ‘RVR’s extremely hackable platform and allows you to connect and run third-party hardware like a Raspberry Pi, Micro:bit, or Arduino. Chances are, if you can hack it, RVR can do it.”
Also of interest is the way you can add different elements such as robotic arms, drone propellers and screens to the base chassis.
The learning experience found in designing and programming vehicles have all sort of real-world applications in later life; a mining operation in Australia for example recently launched the world’s largest robot in the form of a train that makes the 800km journey totally autonomously. That requires a lot of technical skills across several disciplines.
Giving learners the opportunity to play with robots, rovers and other hardware now helps them develop the skills and experiences they need to meet the challenges and opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Sphero are crowdfunding the launch of the RVR on Kickstarter, and you can back it here. Also, if you’d like to find out more about potential learning uses for the RVR and how it was designed, there’s a series of live YouTube streams happening every Wednesday, check out Sphero’s YouTube channel.
Our engineer and product teams can’t wait to get their hands on a RVR, I wonder if we can hack it to work with a pi-top  😉