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Hands-on: Orbotix Sphero 2B, Pixeom personal cloud device, iZZi cases

At the ShowStoppers @ CES event on Tuesday, AppleInsider was able to go hands-on with a variety of new tech products, like the latest iOS-controlled Sphero robot, the Pixeom personal exchange device and new lens-toting iPhone cases from iZZi.


Makers of the aptly named ball-like robot Sphero, Orbotix was showing off its latest project called the Sphero 2B. Unlike the Sphero 2.0, the 2B is shaped more like a tube or cylinder with two oversized wheels stuck on each end.

Sphero 2B

While the round Sphero robot was able to roll around, the Sphero 2B can turn and tumble thanks to the wheels' independent drive motors. The newer machine is also twice as fast as the Sphero 2.0 with a a top speed of 14 feet per second, good enough to pull off jumps and other tricks.

The iOS app can control Sphero 2B's movements, change on-board lighting and facilitate two-player gaming via IR blasters built into the robot's chassis. In addition, Orbotix said it plans to roll out a simple computer-based programming language that kids 7 and up can use to write custom Sphero code.

Sphero 2B is slated to hit store shelves this fall for under $100.


Labeled as a "personal exchange device," Pixeom offers users a personalized cloud that emphasizes anonymity and the ability to run apps without having to understand how servers work.


Users can store personal files, as with many existing cloud services, but Pixeom's more intriguing feature is the ability to run apps called "exchanges." These apps come preloaded on a 16GB SD card and can be used to facilitate data exchanges, shops or message boards, among other utilities.

All data is stored encrypted on the Raspberry Pi-based box and users can choose to keep that data private, or broadcast it to a global network of Pixeom devices. Users can connect to the device via apps written for PC, iOS and Android.

In addition, the device is expandable via two USB ports, meaning external hard drives or even other Pixeom devices can be attached for infinite storage.

Pixeom's Kickstarter page went live today and has already racked up over $19,000 of its $50,000 goal.


Aftermarket iOS device accessory maker iZZi had its Orbit Pro and iZZi Slim iPhone 5/5s cases on display. Compared to the olloclip lens system, which extends an iPhone's picture-taking capabilities by attaching various lenses in from of the camera's field of view, the iZZi cases offer a more robust solution.


Instead of a single detachable tool, Orbit acts as an iPhone case so its pro-grade lenses are always available to the user. On the back, a rotatable chassis with so-called "Peripheral Motion Lock Technology" holds an array of macro, telephoto, wide angle and fisheye lenses. The wide angle lens is actually a screw-off element that sits atop the system's macro lens.

Orbit Pro also features a built-in grip and tripod mount for serious shooting on the go.

The iZZi slim can be thought of as a stripped-down version of the Orbit Pro. It uses the same optics, but drops the tripod mount and grip for an easier everyday carry. Using polycarbonate instead of aluminum makes the Slim lighter and more portable.

The Orbit Pro is on sale now for $299, while the iZZi Slim can be preordered through iZZi's website for $99.