Anyone who is enthralled with the Star Wars franchise has at one time or another yearned for the iconic Jedi/Sith ability to “use the force.” I know I’ve envisioned using a “force choke” or “force push” on my siblings during our epic galactic battles as kids. The thought of being able to experience that in real life (even more so, now that I’m an adult) is a delightful one.
While I may never be able to actually feel what it’s like to pick someone up using nothing but my mind, I can experience controlling a familiar droid with hand gestures and some wearable tech. This is all in thanks to Sphero.
If your not familiar with this tech start-up, then I would recommend keeping them on your radar as they are front runners in the innovative toy department. Sphero started their journey down the “connected play” path in 2010 and by 2011 they introduced “Sphero” to the world. Sphero is the world’s first app-enabled robotic ball and is quite the sophisticated toy (or tablet / smartphone companion as it’s referenced on their site).
Last year, the company partnered with Disney and produced the wildly popular BB8 app-enabled robot. Featured in the recent film Star Wars – The Force Awakens, BB8 was a fan favorite on the silver screen and hit a chord with fans as a robotic toy.
The BB-8 app-enable robot will run you about $150 before taxes. Don’t let the price discourage you from checking this guy out. It is a truly remarkable gadget to play with. You can get your very own BB-8 here.
• Authentic Movement // Guide your BB-8 with a smartphone or tablet
• Listens & Responds // BB-8 recognizes and reacts to your voice
• Holographic Communication // Record and view virtual holographic videos with BB-8
• Autonomous Behavior // BB-8 has a mind of its own – explore the Star Wars™ galaxy together
• Adaptive Personality // Your BB-8’s unique attitude and actions evolve as you interact
• iOS & Android compatible
• Top speed of 4.5 mph (7ft/s)
• Durable polycarbonate shell
• Bluetooth Smart BLE connection (100 foot range)
• Inductive charging (over 1 hour of play on a full charge)
• Free App: BB-8 App-Enabled Droid powered by Sphero available through iTunes or Google Play
• Internal guidance system includes a gyroscope and accelerometer.
• Height: 11.4 cm / Width: 7.3 cm / Weight ~200 g
The fantastic minds over at Sphero are working hard at outdoing themselves yet again. Just recently, the company announced that it has upgraded BB8 to accept gesture commands via a wearable device that fits around your wrist. Anyone wearing the band will be able to control BB8 with hand gestures that sync with the robots sensitive gyroscopic sensors.
Image Courtesy of Gizmodo
The wrist band will be available in Resistance white and First Order Red. Sphero plans to offer the BB-8 product with the wearable as a bundle and as a stand alone product once it’s fully released. At this time, pricing has not been announced.
Check out the video below to see BB-8 in action!