04
Jun
unnamed

What? You don't have a Sphero? Well, you're going to need one to play this amusing free game. Sphero is a neat little ball-shaped robot that rolls around in response to things going on inside your phone. In this case it rolls around your floor killing augmented reality zombies with fireballs. That's got pretty much all the makings of something awesome.

So you point your device's camera at the Sphero, and the undead will attack. As you guide your sphere of death around in real life, the virtual zombies respond to it. You can play the game anyplace there is a flat enough surface for the Sphero to roll around on.

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There are a number of other Sphero apps, but the device itself is $99 (down from $130). Kidding aside, this one does actually look kind of compelling.

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play. http://goo.gl/WQIXBM

  • Rami

    When are we going to stop seeing new Zombie games !!! isn't there anything else to do except zombies ???

    • Stephen S Gibson

      No.

      oh wait...Yes.

  • Mr E

    Laugh it up, but when Sphero 2.0 releases with built-in flamethrowers, you'll be happy to have it in the zombie apocolypse.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Suggest it. I need a few fiery balls.

      • Mr E

        I know a girl you can get those from....

  • Mr E

    On a more serious note though, why is the sphero thing even necessary here? Based on the video, you don't interact with the real-life ball at all. It just rolls around, harassing your pets and housemates while you play the actual game.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Because they need to sell more balls and make balls more lucrative. Wait, what were we talking about?

    • Ross Ingram

      Augmented reality with Sphero is simple and seamless for two reasons – Sphero is a robot, and Sphero is round. This allows us to employ a robotic fiducial, which provides never-before-seen freedom in characterizing the visual environment (since by definition a robot is a reprogrammable machine). With no auxiliary fiducial markers, Sphero can be effectively found and tracked at a distance, at any angle, and when partially obscured. A ball is the same from every angle, after all.

      More info here: https://github.com/orbotix/Sphero-AR-SDK
      Traditionally AR uses this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiducial_marker

  • http://www.bfolkers.com Brian Folkers

    Makes me glad I own a Sphero!

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Interesting Sphero article I read yesterday: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2013/06/03/a-fathers-day-gift-thats-narcissistic-but-not-self-indulgent. I am still not buying it, but I understand its appeal more and more as more apps/games come out that support it.

  • David Becker

    Four times while using this app it simply returned me to the menu screen for no reason.

    It finds the sphero right away but once the zombies come out the lag begins to hit, The on screen target for your sphero starts to lag big time.

    I was never able to figure out how to kill a zombie and controlling the sphero well enough to actually run up to zombies was quite difficult since the sphero can not turn on a dime. It requires a wide arch to turn and start going the other direction, which makes game play less than enjoyable.

    Some features like detecting where the sphero is looked really cool at first glance but this app seems to need more refinement. I will just stick to driving my sphero around like a remote control car for now.

    • Ross Ingram

      David - What device are you using? We're working on a few fixes now.

      • David Becker

        I posted this to the review section on the app as well. I am using a Galaxy Nexus. I am running the latest sphero firmware as well.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

    I really wish I had a practical excuse to buy one of these. I'd like to play with it and use it to entertain my cat, but I'm trying not to spend very much on the extra stuff right now.

    I have a funny feeling that I'll get a brilliant app idea that uses Sphero at about 1am tonight.

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