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The Sphero 2.0 can roll along at an impressive 7 ft (2 m) per second

With the launch of the original Sphero, Orbotix gave the humble ball a technological upgrade. It was a smartphone-controllable robotic toy which could be driven around like an RC car via Bluetooth, or even used to play augmented reality games. Now the Sphero 2.0 has been revealed, which is capable of rolling faster, shining brighter, and is generally said to be much smarter.  Read More

A dog playing with the iFetch device

Playing fetch with your dog is surely one of life's high points. After a short while though, it can all get a bit tiring and just a tad boring. Your bouncing bundle of fun, on the other hand, would happily keep the game going for hours. Fortunately, technology is here to help. The iFetch from the Hamill family shoots out a ball for your dog to fetch, and when fido drops it in the opening at the top, it's fired back out again.  Read More

Uncharted Play's SOCCKET energy-generating soccer ball is on Kickstarter now

When we first covered the SOCCKET power-generating soccer ball back in 2010, the concept was in the prototype stages of development. Since then, the ex-Harvard University team responsible for the design has launched the for-profit social enterprise company Uncharted Play, filed patents for the SOCCKET’s kinetic energy-capturing technology and, more recently, has launched a SOCCKET Kickstarter campaign.  Read More

The BallCam prototype

Viewers of televised football games can now see footage from video cameras mounted on the players’ helmets and the coaches’ heads ... what else could one ask? Of course, let’s see what things look like from the ball’s point of view! Actually, that’s no longer as far-fetched as it once was. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University and Japan’s University of Electro-Communications (UEC) recently unveiled their BallCam system, which can provide relatively smooth video from a spinning, airborne football.  Read More

The buckliball (left) and the toy that inspired its creation

Taking inspiration from a toy, a team of researchers at MIT have developed a new engineering structure that is mechanically unstable, yet collapses in a way that is predictable and reversible. The structure, formed out of a single piece of rubber-like material, is fabricated so that it collapses in harmony to form a smaller structure that can then be expanded into the original shape. This structure opens up new potentials in everything from architecture to micro-medical applications.  Read More

TheO Ball is designed to hold your phone within its cushioned grasp, allowing you to liter...

Playing with your phone just got a little more physical, with TheO Ball. The foam ball is designed to hold your phone within its cushioned grasp, allowing you to literally throw your phone around to play games without fear of damage. Created by PhysicalApps, the idea behind TheO Ball is to get you moving rather than sitting around while playing games with your phone. The company recently showed off the ball and a few games it has developed specifically to use alongside it, at the 2012 Toy Fair in NYC.  Read More

The Sphero smartphone-controlled ball is now available for preorder, and should be in stor...

Of all the products on display at CES 2011 in Las Vegas, one that drew a particularly large number of spectators was ... a ball. Not just any ball, mind you. Developed by Colorado-based tech firm Orbotix, Sphero is a self-propelled rolling ball that users remotely control via Bluetooth, using an app on their smartphone. While it was still in the prototype stage when we last saw it, Sphero has now been redesigned for the retail market, and is available for preorder.  Read More

In the new racquet game of 360ball, players hit a ball into a central concave dish, trying...

It’s kind of like table tennis, kind of like squash, and looks like it would definitely be a good workout – it’s 360ball, a new racquet sport out of South Africa. Games are played on a circular court by two players, or two teams of two players, who are situated around a central concave deflecting disc. Players hit the ball into the disc, trying to do so in such a way that when it bounces out, their opponent(s) won’t be able to reach it. Unlike tennis, say, there are no designated sides on which players have to remain. Instead, everyone is allowed to move 360 degrees around the disc as play dictates ... hence the name.  Read More

Rendering of Sphero, the smartphone-controllable ball

When it comes to toys there is none more basic than the humble ball. Depictions of ball games have been found on ancient Egyptian monuments, while ball games were also popular among the ancient Greeks and Romans. This enduring popularity has seen ball games remain popular the world over to the present day. We’ve seen a number of products that have brought modern technology to balls, such as the sOccket and Speedsensor. The latest to join the list is Sphero – a ball that can be controlled with a smartphone via Bluetooth.  Read More

The Greendix solar-powered soccer balls

There are obviously some people out there who think that soccer balls aren’t doing enough. Earlier this year, we told you about the sOccket, a ball that generates power as it gets kicked around. Now, word comes to us of soccer ball prototypes with built-in solar panels. Where the black pentagonal sections would normally be, these balls instead have custom-designed panels that gather energy as they bask in the sun. That energy is used for running onboard motion sensors, and audio devices that emit a tracking sound whenever the balls are kicked. It is hoped that this sort of technology could be used to allow visually-impaired people to play soccer in the future.  Read More

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