Remote controlled cars are fun, but the ones you may have found at Toys R Us (RIP) back in the day do not hold a candle to the RVR Robot, the latest project by Sphero, a robotics firm that makes an assortment of fun gadgets. Pronounced "rover," the RVR is well on its way to being fully funded on Kickstarter.
The RVR is a "go anywhere, do anything programmable" robot. It's a high-torque, all-terrain remote controlled vehicle, but unlike regular RC cars, it's armed with an assortment of sensors and built upon Sphero's Edu app.
"RVR is more than just a fun, programmable robot—it’s also highly customizable. We’ve added some incredible features that open up a world of possibilities for hackers, educators, students, technical hobbyists and anyone else ready to take it to the next level. With our universal expansion port and onboard power, you can attach and run third-party hardware like a Raspberry Pi, BBC micro:bit, or Arduino," Sphero explains.
Sphero isn't pitching the RVR as simply a toy, but as a platform for hackers, educators, and "mad scientists," as well as a gadget for students, researchers, and engineers. Put another way, it's part of the maker scene. With the ability to inject a mini PC into the mix, there is a lot of potential to what someone can do with one of these.
"Want RVR to be your home security sentry? A roving environmental sensor you can control over the internet? How about a souped-up battle bot? An autonomous metal detector or perhaps a personalized mobile voice assistant? Chances are, if you can hack it, RVR can do it," Sphero says.
RVR uses a vector-based, closed-loop control system. It has an onboard 9-axis IMU with proprietary algorithms and can drive "perfectly straight," Sphero claims. It can also recognize faces, respond to voice commands, map environments, stream music, and even play laser tag.
So far in the early going, RVR has amassed $137,000 in pledges towards Sphero's $150,000 goal, with 30 days still to go. There are two $199 reward tiers available that get you the RVR, with an estimated delivery of October. When it launches, the RVR will retail for $249.