Sphero's Specdrum Rings Makes Music ~ CES 2019
Sphero is probably most famous for its series of toys from Disney's "Star Wars" universe: undeniably delightful for adults and kids alike, but toys which, at the end of the day, had limited educational value.
Sphero acquired the Specdrums product a couple of years ago, but the company has refined the original idea into a fun new "toy" — we use the term loosely, given its educational ambitions — and an accompanying smartphone app. Sphero took the wraps off the new-and-improved Specdrums at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), where they hoped to make their case to classroom educators and moms alike.
Sphero, based in Boulder, Colorado, was founded in 2010 with the mission to instill new creators with a love of coding. In 2016, Sphero officially added education to its mission, with a focus on creative play as an avenue to learning. Specdrums is the latest educational product from this celebrated toymaker. So what is it?
What Is Specdrums — And How Does It Work?
Specdrums is a ring, worn on the user's finger, that "turns colors into music." Also included are the Specdrums Music app, Specdrums MIX app and an interactive tablet. By wearing the ring and downloading the apps, every colorful object becomes a new opportunity to play a song.
The ring uses light sensors to detect colors, LED lights to indicate and light up surfaces, and an accelerometer to monitor taps and gestures through Bluetooth LE connectivity and location services.
Once you connect to the ring and download the Specdrums Mix app for iOS or Android, you can:
- Record and produce songs
- Share jam sessions
- Listen to songs using your phone, anywhere
- Loop beats and tracks with connected rings
- Connect to other music-making apps
The Specdrums Music app also gives you entertainment and educational capabilities:
- Assign instruments, chords and sounds to specific colors
- Learn fundamental music principles through color association
The Specdrums ring works on clothing, surfaces and most other objects.
The rings are made of silicon and have two hours of playing time per charge.
Included in the Specdrums package are:
- One ($64.99) or two rings ($99.99)
- One play pad
- One USB charging cable
- One carrying bag
- One Quick Start Guide
Sphero believes collaborative science technology engineering arts and math (STEAM) activities are keys to inspiring classrooms and creative learning. Going beyond their original focus on robots and coding, Sphero expanded its mission and products to offer more educational applications. Because of this shift, Sphero bridges the gap between science and technology and other classical subjects, like art and music.
Specdrums engages kids in both math, science, technology and music. Using Specdrums to create their own songs through coding and the world around them, Spheros says math and problem-solving skills are strengthened with creative play.
Harnessing the connection between math and music, Specdrums is putting a new high-tech spin on kids' excitement for learning and discovering the world.
Other Get-To-Know Gadgets from CES 2019
Specdrums wasn't the only educational technology highlight from CES 2019. Here are some other gadgets worth checking out for the classroom:
- Laptops. Larger screens, brighter displays and greater processing power debuted from many laptop brands this year. Most notable were Alienware and Asus, who both unveiled 17-inch models of unique designs.
- The Jabra Elite 85H noise-canceling headphones also hit the CES highlight list with their ability to detect the noise around you and adjust to a level that tunes it all out.
- Virtual Reality. HTC revealed a new virtual reality (VR) headset that allows the wearer to navigate and select menus with a twitch of the eye and blurs out surroundings when focusing on specific objects.
Each of these products provides the user with a better opportunity for learning and exploring what technology and the world have to offer.
New Opportunities for Classroom Tech
CES 2019 showed that tech is here for education and changing the way we learn. Thinking about technology and its use in the classroom is something everyone can think about as new products hit the shelves.