Wanted: Sphero, A Sci-Fi Toy Ball You Control With Your Smartphone

The makers of Sphero told Fast Company back in January that they intended their product as a “platform,” not just a toy–and it looks like they’ve made good on that promise. You can download and install apps on your phone that interface with Sphero in all kinds of awesome ways: from a drawing app that makes the ball magically follow a line you sketch on-screen, to a Wii-like golfing game that uses your phone as a digital putting iron, to a spy-cam app that will undoubtedly generate a whole new genre of YouTube cat videos. It has an internal LED whose color you can select, emitting an ethereal glow for nighttime play (or for distinguishing multiple Spheros in group games). The thing is even waterproof, so you can steer it right into a puddle or pool without missing a beat.

Orbotix, the company behind Sphero, is promising an API that will let third-party developers dream up all kinds of new ways to play–an essential move, since at $130, this is not a toy you ever want to get bored with. Here’s an example: an augmented-reality Sphero version of Pong, played in real life: