Sphero SPRK+ is an app-enabled robotic ball made by the same company that created the BB-8 droid for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. Members of the Fraser Valley Regional Library can now check one out, free of charge, for a two- or three-week period. (Bryan Rowe/Sphero photo)

Fraser Valley Regional Library rolls out free robot rentals

Sphero SPRK+ is an app-enabled robotic ball designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and invention.

Fraser Valley Regional Library is now in the robotics game.

Right now, anyone with a FVRL library card can check out a Sphero SPRK+ robotic ball, free of charge, for a two- or three-week period.

The small spherical robots, made by the same company that created the BB-8 droid for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, are app-enabled and designed to inspire curiosity, creativity and invention.

Wrapped in a hard plastic shell, the device is durable and waterproof. When connected to Sphero Edu, a social coding app, it becomes a powerful tool for learning, fostering a love of robotics and encouraging the learning of coding and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) principles for all ages.

“FVRL is proud to be one of the first libraries in Canada to loan the Sphero SPRK+ to customers. This is another exciting addition to our ‘playground’ of things, which also includes ukuleles for customers to borrow, as well as green screens and Makey Makeys for use in library programs,” said Heather Scoular, FVRL’s director of customer experience in release to media. “FVRL continues to look for things that support the creative economy and enable our customers of all ages to learn and grow their skills in fun and engaging ways.”

The Spheros will circulate throughout FVRL’s 25 libraries. Each will come in a kit that includes a Sphero SPRK+, inductive charging base, charging cable and protractor.

Sphero SPRK+ launch events will be held at four FVRL locations:

• Abbotsford Community Library: Thursday, July 13, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

• City of Langley Library: Thursday, July 20, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

• Maple Ridge Public Library: Monday, July 24, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

• George Mackie Library (North Delta): Wednesday, July 26, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit the Fraser Valley Regional Library website.

Watch the video below to see the Sphero SPRK+ in action.