The hottest gift of the holiday season was undeniably Sphero’s BB-8 toy. The app-enabled droid let users bring the cutest new member of the galaxy far, far away into our homes:
Poe Dameron BB-8! However, Sphero isn’t resting on its laurels; the breakout star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, who just so happens to be voiced by Bill Hader and Ben Schwartz, is set to get a brand-new makeover to reflect the damage it sustained on Jakku. The new “battle-worn” model was unveiled at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which you can see more of in our gallery below.
Sphero also made headlines with its Force Band, a wearable bracelet that allow users to control BB-8 using the Force. Well, sort of. It’s slightly more complicated than that. The Force Band looks like a standard digital watch, except there’s no screen. However, contained inside the band are an array of sensors that allow you to use gesture-based controls to steer BB-8’s movement. So, in essence, you can Force Push or Force Pull BB-8 closer and further from you with the simple sway of your hand. This time, though, you’ll be using the power of Bluetooth rather than the mysterious energy that binds all living things. (Although, to be honest, that could be what Bluetooth actually is; I don’t rightly know.)
Both the Force Band and the updated BB-8 model launch in the fall of 2016.
To take you inside the Force Band and the development process of the BB-8 app-enabled droid, I spoke with Sphero founder and “chief scientist” Adam Wilson at CES in Las Vegas:
Here’s a video of the Force Band in action at the Sphero booth. Apologies for the slightly shaky camera work; it was very crowded and I was getting jostled by on-lookers:
What do you think of BB-8’s new look? Will you be picking up the Sphero Force Band? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out our complete CES 2016 coverage.
Images: Dan Casey