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'BB-8' Reviews

Review: If You're a Star Wars Superfan, You Need Sphero's BB-9E and R2-D2

Robotics company Sphero skyrocketed to popularity in 2015 with the release of BB-8, a miniature iPhone-controlled toy droid modeled after the BB-8 character in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As the release of the The Last Jedi approaches this December, Sphero has introduced two new Star Wars-themed robotic toys, BB-9E and R2-D2. R2-D2 is a well-known classic droid that's starred in Star Wars movies since the original trilogy in the 1970s, while BB-9E, an Astromech droid that serves in the First Order (aka evil BB-8), is a newcomer that will appear in The Last Jedi. Like BB-8, both of Sphero's new droids are exquisitely accurate in design compared to the movie versions, and they come to life when paired with the Sphero app. Design BB-9E shares a design with BB-8, and BB-8 was based on Sphero's original robotic ball technology. BB-9E's body is a plastic sphere that houses a motor, a gyroscope that keeps BB-9E upright, counterweights for balance, internal wheels, magnets, and other electronic components. BB-9E's head attaches to the ball-shaped body using magnets, and a set of wheels underneath the head to allow it to move in around in stay in place on the body while BB-9E is in motion. Instead of a round head like BB-8, BB-9E has a flatter head that fits in better with the First Order aesthetic. Size wise, BB-9E fits in the palm of a hand, and if you own BB-8, BB-9E is the same size. In contrast to BB-8's white and orange design, BB-9E is black with gray accents and red and blue lights (on the head) when in operation. BB-9E is made from a durable

Sphero Review: BB-8 Is a Must-Have Toy for Star Wars Fans

Sphero's been making iPhone-connected ball-shaped robotic toys since 2011, and while the company has been successful with the original Sphero and the Ollie, it stumbled on a major hit this year with the launch of the BB-8, a Star Wars branded iPhone-controlled droid. BB-8 is based on the droid from the upcoming movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It combines Sphero's existing robotic ball technology with the Star Wars universe, a marriage that's resulted in the most appealing, advanced Sphero toy to date. Sphero's BB-8 has a fun backstory and was designed with help from Lucasfilm. Throughout the development process, Lucasfilm provided Sphero with details on BB-8, feedback on the design, and the iconic sounds that bring the toy's personality to life. The "real" BB-8 can be seen in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer Hardware and Design Design wise, the BB-8 consists of a robotic ball, similar to the original Sphero, and a droid head that fits onto the ball using magnets. Under the head, there are a set of wheels that allow it to move around and stay in place on top of the body of the BB-8 while it is in motion. BB-8 is about the size of a baseball and fits in the palm of a hand. If you have a Sphero already, the body of the BB-8 is the same size as the Sphero ball. The head is about the size of half a ping pong ball and is adorned with two ornamental antennae. The body and the head are both made of a smooth plastic and there are LEDs inside that allow BB-8 to light up. This is a pretty durable plastic - even when BB-8 slammed into walls, it remained

'BB-8' Articles

Sphero's 'Force Band' Wearable Arrives September 30, Comes With 'Pokemon Go'-Like Mode and BB-8 Control

Back at CES 2016, Sphero debuted a prototype version of the "Force Band," a wearable that allows users to motion control the iPhone-controlled BB-8. While the Force Band can mostly be used to control BB-8 without an iPhone, it has some select features that need an iPhone and Sphero's Star Wars app (via Engadget). The band comes with five modes, two of them for motion controlling BB-8 and other Sphero robots. The three other modes are Force Training Mode, Combat Training Mode and Force Awareness mode. Force Training makes the user follow commands from BB-8 to master Force abilities, allowing the user to "become" a Jedi Knight. Combat Training mode is designed to make the user feel like they're using either a lightsaber or blaster to battle, playing the appropriate sounds based on hand movement. Force Awareness mode plays like a simplified version of Pokemon Go, with the band pinging a user when they're nearing a Holocron, which look to be some sort of digital collecting card displaying Star Wars characters and items in the app. When a user is out in the world and they are physically near a Holocron, the band alerts the user. They can then take out their iPhone, look at the app, and see what Holocron they obtained. However, it's unclear whether Force Awareness mode uses a mapping system similar to Pokemon Go. Sphero also announced a special edition battle-worn edition of BB-8 that looks slightly dirtier and worn out. Both the Force Band and battle-worn BB-8 will be available on September 30. The Force Band will be available for $79, but there'll also be a

CES 2016: Sphero Debuts Wearable 'Force Band' For Controlling BB-8 Droid

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

Sphero Announces iPhone-Controlled BB-8 Droid From 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

Sphero, the company responsible for creating robotic balls that can be controlled by iPhones, today announced a remote-controlled BB-8, a droid from the upcoming film "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." While BB-8 can be controlled with an iPhone, it also comes with a patrol mode that allows the droid to roam around by himself. Users can also design their own routes and have BB-8 follow them. Additionally, Sphero says BB-8 has an "adaptive personality" and his "attitude" and actions will evolve the more a user interacts with him. BB-8 can also receive voice commands via the app, which means that a user can say "move forward" and BB-8 will move forward. While Sphero developed this version of BB-8 as a connected toy, the company was instrumental in the development of the BB-8 droid used in the actual movie. The company was a part of Disney's accelerator program and was paired with Disney CEO Bob Iger as its mentor. When Iger visited with Sphero to see the robotic ball they were working on, he realized the technology could be used for BB-8, who at the time was still being designed. He connected Sphero to the filmmakers and special effects people behind the film and they collaborated on the real BB-8, which was shown off at the Star Wars Celebration convention in May. The toy version of BB-8 will go on sale on September 4, 2015 as a part of "Force Friday," which is when toys and merchandise from "The Force Awakens" officially go on sale. BB-8 will be available for $149.99 at Sphero.com and Apple Stores.