A long time ago in a galaxy far far away Star Wars merchandise was limited to shirts and action figures, in 2015 as the release date for the all new Episode VII Star Wars The Force Awakens approaches there’s a whole new range of toys and gadgets with the Star Wars brand on them – and the hottest of the bunch could just be the newest astromech droid in the Star Wars franchise – BB-8.
BB-8 is a rolling sphere, with a half-sphere shaped “head”. Just like R2D2, BB-8 is destined to play navigator in the X-Wing fighters as they take to the skies in The Force Awakens.
The actual robot used in the film is not a puppet, or computer generated, it’s the real deal, rolling around with the head sitting on top. And that was created in part with the assistance of Sphero. This little company had the sphere shaped toy already on the market, and as a result they had the smarts to make the thing come to life.
Fast forward to Christmas 2015 and kids (and Star Wars fanatics as adults) will be lining up to own their very own working BB-8, and EFTM has got one to play with, and it’s awesome.
BB-8 is the “App-enabled” droid that when paired with your smartphone comes to life.
Just like the “standard” Sphero toy, BB-8 rolls around the floor in any direction you send it, but there’s that little head on top. It’s amazingly kept in place magnetically and can twist and turn independently of the overall movement of the sphere to give it a total life-like appearance.
Within the app you can send the BB-8 Sphero out on Patrol allowing it to roam free and bump into obstacles (like walls), or you can take control and drive it yourself.
Shaking the head, moving it around, and just driving like mad, it’s a load of fun, and remarkably easy.
Then there’s the augmented reality. Open the messages section of the app and you can see BB-8 project holograms in front of itself with explainers about elements of the film, or your own personal video recordings.
BB-8 Sphero goes on Sale from Friday September 4th around the world, in Australia you’ll find it for $249 at JB Hi-Fi, HarveyNorman, Myer, Apple and Tech2Go and online at Macintosh Addict and Mod Life Online
This is the Christmas gift for a Star Wars fan.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.