Sphero BOLT STEM Educational Toy for Kids

Fully programmable and highly advanced, Sphero BOLT is designed for learners of all ages. The indestructible shell, endless programmability of the Sphero Edu app, and long-lasting battery life make it the best STEM educational toy for kids learning.

With a striking LED matrix and advanced sensors, the Sphero BOLT app-enabled robot provides endless opportunities for creativity and fun while learning.

Also, see Sphero vs Cozmo. Which Robot is Better for your Kid?

Sphero BOLT Review

Sphero BOLT is an app-enabled robot ball that provides endless opportunities for creativity and fun while learning. Program with the Sphero Edu app on virtually any mobile or desktop device, discover great community-created activities or drive and play.

BOLT is built to shine with a gorgeous 8×8 LED matrix that animates and displays real-time data. Learn to code by creating and customizing games, drawing on screens, using Scratch blocks, or writing JavaScript text programs.

Use advanced sensors to monitor your BOLT’s speed, acceleration and direction, or use the built-in compass to orient your BOLT and drive.

The BOLT also features infrared communication, allowing the robot to communicate with other BOLTs, enabling new games and advanced coding tactics.

With Bluetooth SMART and a durable waterproof shell, the Sphero BOLT establishes a fantastic new way to learn and play.

Features of Sphero BOLT STEM Educational Toy

Learn to code by drawing with the Sphero Edu app, using scratch blocks, or writing JavaScript text. The colourful LED matrix is ​​fully programmable and comfortable on the eyes.

BOLT to BOLT infrared communication enables new games and advanced movements. One of the best features of Sphero BOLT is the built-in compass, and you can aim the robot automatically.

The ambiLightight sensor allows you to program it according to the room’s brightness. It can handle even the most significant projects with a long battery life of over 2 hours per charge.

One lap is fun. Drive the BOLT and enjoy the game. BOLT is easy to access yet offers more features, power, and fun.

Specifications:

  • Smart Bluetooth compatibility
  • Rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • Up to 2 hours of battery life
  • 73mm diameter sphere in height
  • 200g weight.

Sphero BOLT Coding Method

Coding with the Sphero BOLT robot is exciting and fast-paced, as the name suggests, with its lightning-fast sound. However, there is much more to teaching computer science using BOLT than its speed and flashy appearance.

You’ve probably heard of built-in, programmable LED matrices that display animations and messages depending on the type of program your students create.

You may have seen other blogs about this in the past or have tried your own Sphero class ideas. Now let’s take a closer look at the types of programming students with intermediate to advanced coding experience can perform with BOLT.

There are some main ways students can program BOLT, and I thought it would be helpful to explain how to make this possible before going into more detail on each method. The BOLT is equipped with the most advanced sensors ever found in educational robotics, allowing students to perform tasks such as continuously monitoring the speed and direction the robot is moving.

Then there’s the programmable LED matrix that immediately fascinated me when the BOLT was first introduced. This is a unique piece of hardware that students can use and program as a springboard to display data in real-time.

Finally, the IR sensor allows for robot-to-robot communication (between various BOLT robots) and new coding tactics and games for students.

Students can program the BOLT using the Sphero Edu app, which is compatible with various desktop and mobile devices. The versatile Sphero Edu app allows students to program the BOLT in three ways: drawing, block coding using scratch blocks, or text coding using JavaScript. Each of the three coding methods can be accessed through the Sphero Edu app. Let’s take a closer look.

Main ways to do programming on Sphero BOLT

1. Draw coding with BOLT

This programming method is not limited to BOLT. It can also be used with other robots from Sphero. Students can launch the drawing function within the Sphero Edu app and name the program. A grid of squares should appear on the connected device’s screen, and students can use their fingers to outline any shape or path they want. This will be the course their BOLT will follow.

When the BOLT travels, the exact distance and direction students indicated, students, learn more than just being able to control the robot’s movements with their fingers. Swiping your finger also reveals JavaScript code.

This course allows students to learn essential programming fundamentals, including sequencing and logic. It’s as easy as drawing a shape representing your code and running it using a canvas.

The Sphero Edu app also displays relevant STEM data, such as the total distance travelled by the BOLT!

2. Text coding using BOLT

The Sphero team has created several JavaScript documents teachers and students can refer to as they code in BOLT in this high-level language. As you may have guessed, students who want to use text coding with JavaScript and BOLT must select the Text option when launching the Sphero Edu app.

At the start, students are prompted to create many of the same programs they have already done in the Block Coding section. This helps them to recognize the relationship and similarities between the two languages.

In the Sphero Edu app, students see a blank text canvas where they can write their programs. You will also be prompted to ‘write your code here’, below which you can enter what the BOLT will do. This includes voice programming, LED colour projection, standby, and more.

Several elements make up these lines of code, each represented by a different colour. For example, if the parentheses change from red to green, your code is validated! Finally, students should never forget to end lines of text code with a semicolon.

3. Block coding using BOLT

In terms of block coding using BOLT, students can use blocks similar to Scratch. Block programming fields can be accessed by selecting the blocks option within the Sphero Edu app rather than the draw function.

In this environment, students can begin to learn advanced computer science concepts. In particular, the robot will navigate through loops and operators rather than simply tracing a path to navigate.

Students can build on some of the computer science skills they have learned when drawing programs. You will also learn how to optimize your schedule like a developer.

By performing sample activities within the Sphero Edu app, students can practice code refactoring, use and define loops, and apply that knowledge to constructing block programs.

There are 11 block categories they can use, including motiLightight, sound, sensor, event, variable and more! This course allows students to quickly learn block coding, the benefits of refactoring, and how to use different coding elements.

Also, look at the top lights-up toys for special needs.

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