Connected toys from Sphero generally have one thing in common, movement. We've seen rolling robot balls and tubes, and even a small BB-8 droid from Star Wars which users could control with the Force (or rather a wristband). However, the latest offering from the firm is a more static Spider-Man figure that's been created around the idea of voice-based interactive play.
Developed in conjunction with Marvel, and aimed at children aged eight and up, the 22 cm (8.5 inch) tall silicone figure boasts expressive LCD eyes which can display a number of different animations. However, the most interesting feature is the built-in voice recognition and play, which is activated tapping a spider button on Spider-Man's chest.
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Users can then ask Spider-Man figure a series of questions, or start playing with him. Activities include asking him things like what the time is, or to tell one of his 100 jokes, or 25 interactive stories, all of which are delivered in a suitably snarky Spider-Man voice. There are also 25 voice-guided interactive super villain missions to go on and 15 games to play.
An accelerometer allows the Sphero Spider-Man to respond to being moved and generally thrown around, where he will make noises and say suitable phrases. There's also a motion sensor for a room guard mode, to dissuade snooping siblings from infiltrating bedrooms. The toy connects to an iOS or Android app via a Bluetooth Smart BLE connection, too, allowing users to activate modes and alter the volume.
While a Wi-Fi connection is needed for the initial setup, and to receive firmware updates to add new content, Sphero is keen to stress the security features of the new connected toy. There's no camera or geotagging for parents to worry about, and because voice recognition is handled in-toy, voices aren't stored or shared anywhere. The Sphero Spider-Man comes with a web-inspired charging base, and a full charge is said to be good for over 2 hours of play.
The Sphero Spider-Man is available now priced at US$150 and you can check out the chatty interactive superhero in the video below.
Product page: Sphero Spider-Man