Say hello to Ollie, Sphero’s smartphone-controlled racer that hits 14 MPH

say hello ollie spheros smartphone controlled racer hits 14 mph sphero 1
It’s hard to reinvent something as simple as the ball, but leave it to Sphero to do just that. A few years ago, the robotics toy company created a ball that can be controlled from your smartphone via Bluetooth, and letting you interact with it in unique ways through downloadable apps. Now, the company (formerly known as Orbotix) has evolved that technology into its latest “app-controlled” toy, called Ollie, a tubular shaped remote controlled plaything with wheels that can reach up to 14 miles per hour.

First demonstrated earlier this year at the CES Show in Las Vegas, Ollie (formerly Sphero 2B) is “engineered for high performance and tricks,” Sphero says. Besides racing at high speed (for a toy, at least, which is more than most humans can run), you can make Ollie perform spins, drifts, jumps, and flips. In certain apps, you can get feedback and points based on how gnarly your Ollie’s tricks are. Sphero’s co-founcer, Ian Bernstein, says Ollie takes a nod from skateboarding culture, and would appeal to adrenaline junkies.

Related: Sphero robo-ball, the smart ball you control with your smartphone

Race against your friend's Ollie, or try to knock it out.
Race against your friend’s Ollie, or try to knock it out.

Ollie will be customizable. You can change the tires to give Ollie different driving experiences. A Bluetooth-enabled ramp that interacts with Ollie is in the works. The toy is made with durable plastic that can handle knocks, and pairs instantly with your smartphone using Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) technology. Ollie recharges via USB.

Due out on September 15, Ollie will be available on Sphero’s website for $99, and later in stores. It will come in black and white, and will have four apps available at launch.

Gaming

Xiaomi’s Gamepad 2.0 turns the Black Shark into a mini Switch

Chinese phone manufacturer Xiaomi has introduced the Gamepad 2.0 for its Black Shark gaming phone that launched earlier this year. The new gamepad is similar to the Switch Joy-Con, with one piece attaching to each side of the phone.
Smart Home

Never crawl under the tree again! Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree lights

Did you know you can make your Christmas tree smart, just like many of the other electronics and gadgets in your home? You can even create routines involving your tree. Here’s how to make a smart Christmas tree this holiday season.
Wearables

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Wearables

The best Wear OS watches

There are a ton of different Wear OS watches out there, but which one's right for you? No matter what you're looking for from a smartwatch, here are the best Wear OS watches out there.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

How to switch from iPhone to Android: The ultimate guide

If you've decided to bridge the great tech divide and leave Apple's walled garden for the unknown shores of Android, then you'll find all the tips and advice you need to begin switching from an iPhone to an Android device.
Smart Home

This device detects when your pet is at the door and opens it for them

Tired of waiting for your dog to come inside, or running home in the middle of the day to let your four-legged friend out? Wayzn automatically opens sliding doors for your dog and gives you remote control.
Mobile

Apple pushing update to iPhone in China in response to legal troubles

Apple has been facing legal issues in China due to alleged infringements of patents from Qualcomm Inc. On Friday, Apple announced it will push a software update in China in hopes of resolving any potential legal issues around the iPhone.
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks of the best portable chargers.
Mobile

iOS jailbreak app store Cydia shuts down purchasing

For years, iOS users have been jailbreaking their devices to install software not approved by Apple. But now the popular app store alternative Cydia will no longer be accepting purchases.
News

Lawsuit alleges Apple falsely advertised the screen size of the iPhone X

A lawsuit alleges that Apple was dishonest in the way that it marketed the iPhone X. The lawsuit alleges that despite Apple's marketing campaign, the new iPhone is not in fact all screen because of the notch.
Mobile

Is somebody watching you? How to stop apps from tracking your location

If you don't like the idea of your every movement being tracked by apps on the phone in your pocket, then you may want to turn location tracking off. We take a look at how to do it on an iPhone or Android phone in this easy guide.