Sphero's iPhone-connected robotic BB-8 droid was one of the hottest gifts this holiday season, and Sphero is hoping to maintain that momentum with the introduction of the Force Band, a wearable wristband that will allow BB-8 owners to control the droid using gestures.

For those unfamiliar with Sphero's BB-8, it's a small replica of the BB-8 droid that starred in the recently released Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie. BB-8 is based on years of past iPhone-connected ball-shaped robotic toys that Sphero has released, and in our review, we called it Sphero's best toy yet.

The Force Band isn't going to ship out until later in 2016, but Sphero has a prototype available at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. The Verge was able to go hands-on with the Force Band and gave some insight into how it works. BB-8's speed is controlled by hand elevation and direction is controlled by the orientation of the hand.

Resting your hand to your side enters driving mode. With your palm down, Sphero looks away from you; with your palm up it looks toward you. Spin in place, and BB-8 spins with you. The direction also dictates where it drives, and the rolling speed is at least somewhat affected by your hand's elevation. Waving your hand in place will enter a gesture mode -- the only one that worked for me was a nod "yes" when we did a quick right jab -- and then putting your hand back down re-engages driving mode.

Sphero's Force Band is an interesting solution because it will turn the BB-8 into Sphero's first product that won't exclusively require a smartphone for control. With the Force Band, Sphero will be able to be used sans iPhone.

Pricing has not yet been announced for the Force Band, and Sphero expects to release the device in the fall of 2016. The pictures shared above are of an early prototype version and the design of the final band will change.

Sphero has also unveiled plans to release another version of the BB-8 with a worn-out battle-scarred look.

Top Rated Comments

MaulRx Avatar
88 months ago
Apple Watch app?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mr.steevo Avatar
88 months ago
I really have to ask. How is this possibly a Macrumor?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nutmac Avatar
88 months ago
so unnecessarily expensive for a toy. apple watch app would be nice
Ideally, Sphero should do both. My kid got BB-8 for Christmas and having a dedicated controller that does not require iPhone or iPad would be awesome.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jmh600cbr Avatar
88 months ago
so unnecessarily expensive for a toy. apple watch app would be nice
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

USB C Over Lightning Feature

EU Passes Law to Switch iPhone to USB-C by End of 2024

Tuesday October 4, 2022 3:30 am PDT by
The European Parliament today voted overwhelmingly in favor of enforcing USB-C as a common charging port across a wide range of consumer electronic devices, including the iPhone and AirPods, by the end of 2024. The proposal, known as a directive, forces all consumer electronics manufacturers who sell their products in Europe to ensure that a wide range of devices feature a USB-C port. This...
ipad pro purple

Five Apple Products You Should Avoid Buying Right Now

Wednesday October 5, 2022 2:12 pm PDT by
Rumors suggest that Apple still has several new devices that are coming before the end of the year, including a range of Macs and iPads. It's not looking like we're going to get an October event in 2022, but refreshes are coming soon, probably via press release. If you're planning to buy a Mac or an iPad, make sure to check out our list to know what's safe to pick up now and what's not. iPad ...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

10 New iOS 16 Features Coming Later This Year

Monday October 3, 2022 2:41 pm PDT by
iOS 16 was released to the public three weeks ago with a customizable Lock Screen, the ability to edit iMessages, improvements to Focus modes, and much more. And in the coming months, iPhone and iPad users have even more new features to look forward to. We've rounded up 10 new features coming to the iPhone and iPad later this year, according to Apple. Many of the features are part of iOS...
magsafe charger orange

Apple Releases New MagSafe Charger Firmware

Tuesday October 4, 2022 12:09 pm PDT by
Apple today released updated firmware for the MagSafe Charger that is designed to work with the iPhone 12 and later and the AirPods Pro 2. The new firmware is version 10M1821, up from the prior 10M229 firmware. Note that in the Settings app, you'll see a different version number than the firmware number, with the update displayed as version 255.0.0.0 (the prior firmware was 247.0.0.0). The...
maxresdefault

Video: AirPods Pro 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort II

Monday October 3, 2022 12:50 pm PDT by
Apple on September 23 officially launched the second-generation version of the AirPods Pro, introducing updated Active Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Transparency, improved sound, and more. Right around the same time, Bose introduced new QuietComfort II earbuds with many similar features, so we thought we'd compare the two to see which has the edge. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for ...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

One of iOS 16's Best Features Drains Battery When Enabled

Thursday October 6, 2022 2:15 am PDT by
One of iOS 16's most praised features comes at the cost of draining battery life, according to recently published Apple support documents. The feature, known as "keyboard haptics," is optional in iOS 16 and allows users to get physical feedback via slight vibrations upon the touch of each key, confirming that it was pressed much like keyboard sounds. The feature is a useful addition to the...
aapl logo banner

No October Apple Event Expected Despite Upcoming Wave of New Devices

Wednesday October 5, 2022 2:33 am PDT by
Apple is no longer expected to host an event this month, despite plans to unveil a host of new devices including new iPad and Mac models, according to recent reports. In recent months, Apple has been expected to hold an event in October to announce a range of products that did not receive any stage time during the company's iPhone 14 unveiling event last month. In a recent newsletter, Bloombe...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.0.3 With More Bug Fixes Following iPhone 14 Launch

Monday October 3, 2022 7:53 am PDT by
iOS 16.0.2 was released last month with several bug fixes for iPhone 14 issues, excessive copy and paste permission prompts, and more. Now, evidence suggests that Apple is planning to release iOS 16.0.3 with additional bug fixes. Evidence of an upcoming iOS 16.0.3 software update has shown up in MacRumors analytics logs, which have been a reliable indicator in the past. There are several...
iOS 16

Apple Seeds New Betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Tuesday October 4, 2022 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the fourth beta of iOS 16.1 to developers for testing purposes, with the beta coming one week after the release of the third iOS 16.1 beta. The iOS 16.1 beta is also joined by the fifth beta of iPadOS 16.1, which is on a slightly different schedule as Apple started testing it prior to the launch of iOS 16. Registered developers can download the iOS 16‌ and iPadOS 16...
dynamic island outline 1

iOS 16.1 Beta Adds More Pronounced Gray Border Around Dynamic Island When Using Black Wallpapers or in Dark Mode

Tuesday October 4, 2022 11:58 am PDT by
With the latest iOS 16.1 beta, Apple has tweaked the design of the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max to make it more visible on a dark background. When using a darker wallpaper or with the darker interface of Dark Mode activated, there is a light gray border around the outside of the Dynamic Island when the screen is dimmed or when the Dynamic Island is in active use. The...