For fans of the Star Wars franchise, or even just fans of cool robots, this is the Ultimate Star Wars Gift For Xmas 2016 – Sphero Star Wars BB-8 Droid. This gadget created a huge buzz earlier this year when videos of it began to appear online. The BB-8 Droid is the much-loved character from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, who assists Rey and Finn in their struggle against the evil Kylo Ren.
BB-8, with his unique and quirky head-balanced-on-rolling-ball motion, has taken over from the iconic R2-D2 as the ‘adorable droid’ of the latest movies in the franchise.
Consumer electronics company Sphero have, in their infinite genius, managed to replicate BB-8’s rolling ball motion perfectly. They’ve done this using gyroscopic propulsion for the rolling ball, with the head balanced on top using keyed magnets that ensure the head is always pointed in the right direction. The result is an impressively authentic effect that perfectly imitates the droid from the movie.
Sphero’s BB-8 Droid is controlled by an easy-to-use app available for both iOS and Android devices. Simply download it for free from iTunes or Google Play. Once the app is launched you quickly calibrate BB-8 to show him which directions are forward and backward. Then he is easily controlled using a directional touchscreen joypad on the left hand side of the app, and individual function options on the right.
Smart Droid Features
The Sphero BB-8 Droid boasts an Adaptive Personality – it learns from you, with its behaviour and actions evolving as you interact with the droid. It also listens and responds, with its Bluetooth Smart technology able to recognize and react to your voice commands. You can even set it to patrol, and it will explore its surroundings autonomously, almost like a pet!
One of the most impressive features of the Droid is the holographic projection. It uses Augmented Technology to record and replay holographic messages. You hold your smartphone or tablet up to the Droid, and the holographic message is projected from the Droid on your screen. You can record and send your own videos, in addition to playing original Star Wars content from Sphero.
The Sphero Star Wars BB-8 Droid operates at a range of up to 30m. It recharges via a docking station via inductive charging, meaning no cables need to be plugged in. It’s highly compact and portable, at only 5.31 inches wide, 8.86 inches tall and weighing just 1.25 pounds.
-It would be cool if it automatically returned to the charging dock autonomously, but this must be done manually.
-It won’t actually operate an X-Wing fighter for you.
Q. How easy is it to set up and use?
A. Super-easy. Just charge it up, download the free app to your smartphone or tablet from iTunes or Google Play, connect to the droid, and you’re good to go.
Q. How does the holographic projection work?
A. It doesn’t actually project a holograph – it does it through your smartphone or tablet using Augmented Reality. The holograph is ‘projected’ from BB-8 on your device’s screen when you hold it over the droid. The effect is still very cool though.
This isn’t just the ultimate gift for Star Wars geeks, or even for people who love drones and other remote-control gadgetry. This gadget is cool enough to actually win kids over into the Star Wars franchise and create new fans for life.