If you’re wondering where to buy BB-8, you can get it here: BB-8 Droid
We first saw BB-8 when it appeared in the trailer for Stars Wars: The Force Awakens, the “7th” episode of the Star Wars franchise. Most fans figured the film used CGI to create the droid but to many people’s surprise, we found out from the director, J.J. Abrams, that it’s an actual working robot created by Sphero. Here’s the video clip.
Similar to the R2 series droids, BB-8 has a domed shaped head and the body is a ball shaped metal that rolls giving the droid the ability to travel. The droid was used by Poe Dameron, a Resistance pilot.
When fans found out BB-8 was an actual, physical mechanism and not computer generated for the movie, fans from all over started wondering how it worked since they were told about the real life toy being available for purchase. There were a lot of guesses and theories. It wasn’t just a regular toy using existing technology, there were patents that gave clues to how it operated. How does it roll while the head, which is separate from the body, stays on? Some say it uses “the force”.
Using holonomic motion, the robot is able to determine its position using sensors (gyroscopes and accelerometers). It can be controlled with a remote control or by using an app on your phone. There’s a counterweight at the bottom to help keep the droid’s center of gravity near the ground thus keeping the traction of the 2 wheels on the inner part of the body. As for the head, it’s kept on as it rolls using magnets.
Here’s a video demonstrating how BB-8 works:
As you can see, it’s not just a remote controlled toy, you can do other cool things with it like generate holographic messages using your phone. It can also display emotion as well such as being angry or pumped up. It’s more than just a toy, it’s a computer, a droid, running on an operating system. Perhaps this is the beginning of a future where we’ll have intelligent robots helping us with everyday tasks or just being a companion for all the lonely people out there just like in those science fiction movies.
BB-8 is an astromech droid who was in operation about 30 years after the Battle of Endor and, at least for short time, was roaming around on deserts of planet Jakku. We’ll have to wait until the movie comes out on December 18, 2015 to find out more. Those lucky enough to get their hands on the BB-8 droid can get a first person experience of how this toy droid operates.