A new company called GearBox wants to create “flexible hardware platforms that are controlled from your phone”. Their first prototype is a wireless robotic sphere that can be controlled simply by tilting your phone, assuming that your phone has the necessary sensors.
It’s a neat concept in itself, but combined with apps, it gets a lot more awesome. For example, GearBox is working on a “Sumo” app for the ball. Users place their GearBox balls on a table and try to knock each other’s balls off. The app also has a cool feature – stats and specs: “…there is also an onscreen component with online stats, profiles, damage, powerups and other aspects of gameplay that aren’t possible with a regular remote control toy. For instance, when the balls collide they can sustain “damage” and roll slower or I could get a powerup to reverse your controls for a few seconds.” Nice!
The prototype ball uses Bluetooth to communicate with a phone from as far away as 100 feet. Its little servo motor outputs allow it to move.
GearBox is hoping that third-party developers can think up of more apps or games for the robot ball, like golf or curling games, or even something that would make it fun for your pets to play with. Or an app that would make the ball hit people’s faces at random. Seriously though I think it’s an awesome toy; I hope that they can make the ball bounce and jump. Now that would really be the a reinvention of the ball. Remote basketball anyone?