Sphero’s Spider-Man does at least some of the things a spider can.
Sphero may not have the most robust catalog of toys under their belt, but their latest take on Spider-Man proves their commitment to innovation.
Joining the ranks of Sphero’s Lightning McQueen and the wildly popular BB-8, the app-controlled Spider-Man is now available to the public. However, while Lightning McQueen and BB-8 could be considered feature-filled remote-controlled toys, Spider-Man doesn’t actually move around. Instead, Spider-Man sort of functions like a version of Siri or Cortana that you can directly play with.
Priced at $149.99, Sphero’s Spider-Man almost looks like a fancy Funko Pop! at a glance. Standing approximately 8.5 inches tall, this rubber toy doesn’t boast any articulation beyond some light movement of his arms. However, the magic truly begins after tapping the toy’s chest to turn it on. Using Voice Recognition technology, users can (sort of) hold a conversation with Spider-Man. Highlights include jokes, trivia, and corresponding LCD eyes that emote as he delivers his lines.
Though there’s no way to make the toy move on its own, the complimentary Sphero Spider-Man app is never-the-less essential to the experience. While the app can trigger certain voice-commands instantaneously, it also boasts a collection of games. Spider-Man can guide users through choose-your-own adventure style stories that play out various scenarios, such as chasing a villain on the run. Since the figure does boast a 3D-Accelerometer, the games may involve shaking or otherwise moving the entire toy around. The app can update the toy to allow for new features as well.
Make no mistake, this is clearly a product that targets a younger audience. Since Spider-Man doesn’t actually access a cloud storage or otherwise go online by itself, it is by-design more secure than other similar products. Features like setting him up to “guard your room to stop snooping siblings” might be (intentionally) a bit childish, but adults can still enjoy the basic Alexa-style commands Spider-Man is capable of. I mean, if I could choose between a generic robot voice or Spider-Man to tell me the time, I can tell you who I’d pick every time.
As Sphero dives deeper into the world of licensed characters, we’ll be interested to see what they’ll do next. In all likelihood, they’ll continue to use Disney-owned properties considering they are a shareholder of Sphero. Even at that, your guess about Sphero’s future is as good as mine.