Expanding the RVR

BY Hailey Blessing 12/17/19 6:23 AM

If you couldn’t tell by our recent blog post topics, we’re pretty excited about all of the new robotics kits that are coming out. The SparkFun RVR expansion kits are no exception. The kits increase the Sphero RVR’s capabilities by opening up a world of opportunity and helping students progress their robotics skills beyond the basics that the RVR platform provides.


To get everyone on the same page, let’s discuss the RVR itself first. The Sphero RVR (pronounced “Rover”) comes ready to go, straight out of the box. Upon arrival, it is pre-assembled with powerful motors, tank treads, and ready to be programmed through the Sphero EDU app on a phone or tablet where you can write basic programs, drive the RVR around and have it change color.

The RVR is also ready to be hacked immediately with Arduino, micro:bit, Raspberry Pi, and more. As an educator, this means you can incorporate the bot into different activities and across different product ecosystems all year long, allowing you to mold the RVR to fit the needs of your classroom.

The Kits

To help educators get more use out of the RVR and get a jump start on expanding its capabilities with Raspberry Pi, SparkFun created two kits that allow students to continue progressing their robotics skills for middle and high school students.SparkFun Advanced Autonomous Kit for Sphero RVR

  • SparkFun Basic Autonomous Kit for Sphero RVR
    • The Basic Kit is perfect for adding more functions to your RVR. By using the Raspberry Pi’s Zero W model, students can learn about global positioning and vision by applying these skills to basic navigation and control.
  • SparkFun Advanced Autonomous Kit for Sphero RVR
    • The Advanced Autonomous Kit has all the functionality of the basic kit, but with the addition of time-of-flight distance sensing in the front and rear. The added time-of-flight sensing allows for increased mobility with the addition of collision avoidance.


The Projects

What’s neat about these kits is that they can be used for a variety of projects. Students could create a “rescue” bot, and have it navigate through an obstacle course, with students steering the bot, or have it navigate on its own. For students studying the solar system, they could create a planetary explorer. With the GPS capabilities, students can create maps and, with even more sensors, have the bot send data readings along the route.

We’re excited to see what projects you and your students are inspired to create with the Sphero RVR and SparkFun’s expansion kits. Be sure to share some of your ideas below!


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