Missing bluetooth signal strength meters

I use Sphero minis in the classroom. Up until I started the most recent unit (today), when I had students connect to their Spheros, each device listed had a small graph next to it that showed signal strength for each Sphero in range. This allowed the students to select the robot nearest to them, as it would show the greatest signal strength. Today, when I started my lesson, the signal strength indicators were gone, to be replaced with a generic list of Spheros, as shown in the image below. Is there any way to get the signal strength indicators back?
We are using Android app version 6.3.4 on Chromebooks.

Hi, jlmpost. I can give a quick explanation of this change in the Android app.

Historically, Sphero apps have handled all the scanning and connection logic with our robots. While this gives us flexibility in our UI (including signal strength indicators), it does require that we ask for location permissions on Android (a Google rule). If a developer scans for hardware, then there is the possibility that the app could triangulate user location via Bluetooth beacons. The Sphero Edu app doesn’t do this, but the need to enable location permissions caused great concern for a lot of schools. Some were even unwilling to use the apps at all due to this requirement.

Google provides a way around the need for location permissions called “companion pairing”. In this paradigm we tell the operating system which robots we want to look for, and the operating system handles the scanning process. They then display the options to the user. In this model, it limits the BT beacon concern and ensures that the apps themselves can’t triangulate a users location. In the image you shared, it’s actually the Android OS connection popup, and we can’t control what info it shows or how it looks. That’s part of the protection layer in place to drop the location permission requirement.

Essentially, we had to give up our custom UI and scanning flow to ensure better permission and data policies, per the needs of many districts and schools.

While that explains the reason the signal strength icons are gone, it doesn’t help with connection. Here are some thoughts:

  • With newer robots (like RVR and BOLT), we show the ID on the robot itself, so it’s easy to read the ID and then connect to that specific robot.
  • If you are using Mini (which it looks like you are given the shared picture), then the method we outline in this video may help:
    The Robot Chooses You - YouTube