Sphero acquires littleBits

Ayah Bdeir is leaving littleBits, the company she founded in 2011 to put components into kids' hands that enabled them to create circuitry systems without wires, soldering or programming. Recently, littleBits was acquired by Sphero, a robotics and STEAM company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to Sphero, some 65,000 teachers in 35,000 schools have adopted products from the two companies. With the latest acquisition, the company declared, Sphero's portfolio of patents will cover robotics, electronics, software and the Internet of Things, giving teachers access to "hundreds of thousands of community-generated inventions and activities" and more than a thousand lessons tied to learning standards, including the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core.

Last week, Sphero released the Sphero Mini Activity Kit, an upgraded robotic ball that can be controlled through "activity cards" or coding to run through mazes and tunnels and around pins and cones. That's expected to be available for purchase in October.

"Sphero and littleBits are on a mission to make hands-on learning fun and memorable," said Paul Berberian, Sphero's CEO, in a statement. "Together, we're able to make an even greater impact by delivering the best possible solution--whether it is programming a robot to solve a maze or building an electronic music synthesizer. There are infinite learning possibilities--and they're all fun."

"When I studied engineering, it was top down, test-based," added Bdeir. "I hated it and wanted to quit every semester. Then I got exposed to the pedagogy of learning through play and my life changed; no one could peel me away from learning, inventing, creating. Together, littleBits and Sphero are now bringing this experience to kids everywhere."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.