Seattle City Hall may typically be a place for budget talks and transportation debates. But on Sunday, the building served a much different purpose.
Tiny white balls buzzed across the floor. Nope, it wasn’t a mini golf outing. This was the final day of the Sphero Hackathon, a weekend event in which more than two dozen geeks used their programming skills to transform the mini-robotic balls into something fun, entertaining and useful.
Some of the ideas: A Sphero-based drinking game; a music mix service; and a “keep away” game.
Not familiar with Sphero? It’s the robotic ball that users control with a tilt, touch or swing from a smartphone or tablet computer.
Brothers Skylar and Casey Graika, graduates of Washington State University who now work in computer security for Boeing, developed a game called Sphero Arena in which players compete to knock out other balls.
“We just love learning new ways to code and new platforms,” said Skylar Graika, adding that this event marked the first time they’d worked with the Sphero technology. “What’s cool is … once you do it, the next time it will be 100 times easier.”
Some other teams also hit bottlenecks. Xandon Frogget had the idea of using the Sphero ball to help drive a baby stroller, something he’s pulled off using both a Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect. But when a piece of hardware broke this morning for the getup, Frogget had to abandon the idea.
Here’s a quick look at the Sphero Arena offering, developed by the Graika brothers.