Sphero Connectivity Package

Control a Sphero from MATLAB and Simulink
Updated 16 Jul 2018

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Editor's Note: This file was selected as MATLAB Central Pick of the Week

Sphero is an inexpensive differential-drive robotic ball that can be controlled from a Bluetooth enabled device. It features a number of sensors (accelerometers, gyros, back-emf encoders) which allows it to measure its position and velocity with a fair degree of accuracy. The Sphero's RGB LEDs allow it to glow in any color of choice, while the blue back LED indicates its current orientation. Two wheels allow the Sphero to roll on the ground and to rotate along its vertical axis.
This package (which works with MATLAB releases 2014b and newer) allows us to communicate with a Sphero from within MATLAB (and Simulink), on a computer running either Windows or 64-bit version of Mac OS 10.7 or earlier.
The package is mainly based upon a "sphero" class, which in turn relies on the MATLAB Bluetooth class. The class methods and properties allow you to perform (within MATLAB) many operations available with the underlying Sphero API, such as connecting, disconnecting, sleeping, changing LED colors, reading (and/or streaming back) the Sphero's position and velocity, and commanding each of the 2 motors independently. An higher-level roll command can also be used to move the Sphero with a certain speed and direction. The Simulink library contained in the package also features Simulink blocks for setup, timing, and basic sensing and actuation.
The readme.txt file explains how to pair up the Sphero to your computer, install the package, and create Sphero objects in MATLAB, while several examples are also included to illustrate the use of the available commands and Simulink blocks.
NOTE that the 'readLocator' capability was temporarily removed in version 3.71 of the Sphero firmware, so if you need this functionality you need to use either an older or newer version of the firmware.

Cite As

Danvir Sethi (2024). Sphero Connectivity Package (https://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/fileexchange/52481-sphero-connectivity-package), MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2014b
Compatible with R2013a and later releases
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux
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Version Published Release Notes

Minor fixes:
* Updated output units of grey box and kinematic blocks
* Extend support for R2018a

* Raw motor block updated to expect a single input with 2 elements for left and right motor. This makes the block inline with the other blocks in the library
* Added blocks and example models for Kinematic Model and Grey Box Model for the Sphero

Updated license

Bug fix & extending support for MATLAB R2013a-R2014b
* 'AccRange' & 'rotationRate' removed, due to dropped support for these commands in Sphero API (in firmware 3.71)
* units.txt file added, indicating ranges of sensor data
* 'ReadSensor' block added