TWO GEEKS AND JUNK FOOD: Sphero, creator of playable robots and the SPRK Education Program, just got a big write-up in the New Yorker. Why? Writer D.T. Max describes the "milky white orb" robot as a "crossover product" between a toy and an educational tool to teach students about coding, both individually and in groups. "Sphero and similar toys like Lego Mindstorms—simple robots that you build and then code—have come to be seen as stops on the road to the well-salaried position of programmer," he writes.
Max dives into the history of Sphero, including how "two geeks and junk food," referring to co-founders Ian Bernstein and Adam Wilson, created the product and released Sphero 1.0 in 2011, eventually convincing Barack Obama to take a spin. Max also touches upon the STEM debate, claiming that the Sphero is evidence that, "the question of whether to integrate the digital more fully into children’s lives has already been decided, and not just because so much time outside school is spent in front of screens."