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Sphero bought a crowdfunded music tech company to expand its unlicensed toys

Sphero bought a crowdfunded music tech company to expand its unlicensed toys

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Sphero, the maker of connected toys like BB-8, announced this week that it’s acquired Specdrums, a company that makes rings that produce music through taps on different colors. We don’t know how much Sphero spent to acquire the company’s technology, but Specdrums raised over $175,000 on Kickstarter last year and just finished shipping to all its backers. It’s clear that Sphero plans on integrating the ring and color system into its proprietary toys.

Sphero CEO Paul Berberian tells The Verge that the company wants to “get back to its roots,” through toys that won’t have as much branded, character-focused play.

We can already get an idea of what these future toys could do because Specdrums integrated its technology with Sphero’s open SDK earlier this year. You can see below how the rings can control a Sphero’s movements.

None of Sphero’s products currently allow for music playback, but it seems obvious that the company would try to incorporate it now that it has Specdrums’ IP. Berberian’s quote is interesting because, up until recently, Sphero had mostly concentrated on releasing toys under other companies’ branding, like its BB-8, R2-D2, and Lightning McQueen from Pixar’s Cars franchise. The company’s clearly gotten in on that Disney money and now is ready to move beyond it.

Last year, it launched the Sphero Mini — a little ball that works similarly to the original Sphero — and it has plans to announce additional products this year and next. The company says it’ll also launch a second version of Specdrums in late 2018 or early 2019.