Who’ve thought that a plastic doodad the size of a can of Pringles could move so damned fast, or that it could be so much fun to drive?
Orbotix, the crowd who made Sphero, the little robotic ball that could, has a new remote controlled robot on the block. It’s called Ollie and boy can it move.
Ollie is also built like a brick you-know-what-house. This is a good thing as my driving skills using a downloaded app on my smartphone are best described as dire.
Unfortunately Sphero doesn’t bundle “L” plates with Ollie but he can take knocks and bumps and keep going. Ollie is a small white tube crafted out of polycarbonate, with rubber wheels on each end. Ollie’s clever cylindrical design also meant that he usually landed on his wheels after a major crash.
I seemed to be exceptionally good at driving Ollie into walls, the sides of any nearby doors, or even down our stairs. Worse still I often did so at great speed (he can do over 20kph).
That said, I’m getting better with practice. With some tweaking of the Ollie app settings I was also able to control Ollie's speed and handling.
As dire as my driving skills were, prangs with household objects are all part of the fun.
What makes for an even more entertaining experience are new tricks that were unlocked as I got to grips with Ollie.
These are accessible via a track pad on my phones screen in landscape mode. They can be tricky to get the hang of, but they drove my two greyhounds bonkers. Watching my two hounds chase this wee remote controlled robot around our house was a lot of fun.
I usually got an hour of use between charges. Ollie also has a few quirks that took some getting used to. For a start I found that Ollie would sometimes get confused about which way was forwards and which was back. This was easily fixed using the Ollie app which re-calibrated it.
If you want to keep kid(ults) of all ages amused for ages (and drive house hold pets crazy), Ollie is excellent value for money at $149.