Making Star Wars Fans' Dreams Come True: The BB-8 Robot


The whole world is waiting with bated breath for the upcoming release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. The very first trailer released for the film was packed with memorable images, including the appearance of a strangely familiar orange-and-white robot. In this case, it wasn't past Star Wars movies that the new droid was calling back to; it was the Sphero robots made by the Orbotix company. More than a few interested viewers contacted Orbotix about the possibility of making a Sphero robot that matched the droid from the trailer even more closely. Imagine the world's surprise when Orbotix announced that not only could they create a Sphero-sized version of the droid, but they were also responsible for manufacturing BB-8 itself, the actual prop used in the film!

BB-8 by Sphero is soon to be a real-world product on store shelves that you yourself can buy. The popularity of this high-tech toy seems virtually guaranteed; it's likely to show up on Christmas lists from Star Wars fans both young and old this year.

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The initial impression given by BB-8 is very similar to early Sphero orbs. This one, of course, wears an independent head unit on top of the main body, but the differences are more than cosmetic. Orbotix has packed BB-8 with brand-new features that are sure to delight and amaze. The new robot can be wirelessly paired with a tablet or phone to provide instant, intuitive movement controls. The robot's demonstrated range of movement so far matches up very closely with the capabilities of its bigger on-screen brother.

The control software included with the BB-8 by Sphero looks quite impressive. The robot's app includes owner-tuned voice controls, customizable sentry modes, and even an "autonomous" mode that turns the droid into an independent, inquisitive entity. The makers claim that BB-8 comes with an adaptive personality that can grow and evolve based on the way you interact with it. Marketing materials for the new product are already repeating that it's more of a companion than a toy.

The droid's app also offers you a communication mode. This will take advantage of Augmented Reality features to let you record a message and then view it as though the droid itself were projecting it holographically. This even opens up the possibility of droid-to-droid communication between you and your friends who own BB-8s of their own.

Just like earlier Sphero toys, BB-8 will come with a wireless docking cradle that charges the robot when you're not using it and leaves it instantly ready for later play. To match the droid's own styling, the cradle is also heavily Star-Wars-themed. A nice touch is the automatic re-alignment of the droid's head whenever it's berthed in its cradle. This doesn't just signal that recharging is underway, it also looks awesome!

Force Friday (September 4th) is a momentous day in the Star Wars fandom, and this year it brings BB-8 by Sphero out on store shelves at a suggested price of $149. Check out the Sphero site to learn more and decide whether or not BB-8 is the droid you're looking for.