Sphero acquires a music education startup

Sphero, the Boulder-based robotic toy maker, has acquired Specdrums, a Boulder startup that makes programmable rings that people can use to make music.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The transaction brings the Specdrums product to Sphero, along with the startup’s six employees.

Acquiring Specdrums helps add art to the technical learning Sphero is designing its toys around, Berberian said.

“We firmly believe that play is a powerful teacher. With the addition of Specdrums, we are strengthening the ‘A’ in STEAM in our product roadmap,” Sphero CEO Paul Berberian said in a press release tied to the news. “With Sphero’s infrastructure and the groundwork that the Specdrums founders have already completed, we believe there’s a huge opportunity to continue to inspire curiosity in classrooms and beyond.”

Specdrums rings are worn on a person’s figure and can be made to emit different notes or sounds when they are tapped on things of different colors.

The startup used a Kickstarter online funding campaign that raised nearly $200,000 to get its first versions of the rings to more than 1,900 backers.

How Specdrums will fit into the larger company remains to be seen, but for now, Sphero is promising a relaunch of the company’s first music product the end of this year or the beginning of next. The initial Spedrums offering had been sold out after the closing of the company’s 2017 crowdfunding campaign.

Sphero, for its part, kicked off the year on rough footing, laying off dozens of staffers after the company’s glut of Disney-branded robotics toys failed to maintain its earlier Star Wars success. At the time, the company promised to double down on education, and is looking to fulfill that goal with a recent $12 million funding round.

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