If you're into robots or Raspberry Pi, chances are that you've either already built or want to build some kind of robot vehicle. Amazon is filled to the brim with robotic car kits that you can build yourself and power with a Pi or an Arduino board. However, most of these kits are a little flimsy and definitely not made to work outdoors.
Enter the Sphero RVR. I've been testing this robotic car for a couple of weeks now and will soon have a full review (but there are so many features to try). This car comes prebuilt and has really strong build quality, so much so that Sphero says you can use it outdoors. It normally goes for $249, but in honor of Black Friday tech deals season, Amazon has it for just $199.99.
Sphero RVR Robot: was $249 now $199.99
This robotic vehicle is loaded with sensors, including a color sensor, an accelerometer, an IR sensor and a gyroscope. Best of all, you can attach a Raspberry Pi to the RVR and use it to add all kinds of features including a camera or a robot arm.
The RVR has a plethora of sensors: including a color sensor, a light meter and an IR sensor. It has some gorgeous, configurable RGB lights you can program and a removable battery (so you can buy extra batteries to use while you're charging). Sphero clearly expects that some adults will use this for professional purposes as it shows examples of the RVR being used (with attachments) to take water and soil samples.
However, the best thing about the RVR is that it has a built-in serial port that connects directly to the GPIO pins on a Raspberry Pi, a USB port that outputs power for a Raspberry Pi and a mounting cover that you can screw a Raspberry Pi (or other circuit boards) to.
Using Sphero's python API and a Raspberry Pi Zero W, my son and I programmed our RVR to change its LED lights to match whatever the color sensor sees. Even better, we could attach a robotic arm, a live streaming camera or any other set of sensors to the Pi and use those to control the RVR.
Even the discounted price of $199 is a lot to spend on a robotic car, but the RVR is worth it.