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Being one of the most popular Christmas gifts to date, because of the immense success of the new Force Awakens movie, the Star Wars BB-8 droid by Sphero will get Force-like gesture controls, allowing users that aren’t Jedi or Sith level yet to move the cute little droid around by simply moving their hands.
This will be made possible by wearing a new device called a Force Band. Sphero has created this new wearable in order to allow people to control BB-8’s direction and movement speeds without requiring them to own an iPad or Android device. The Force Band connects to the droid through a Bluetooth connection, and simple hand gestures and movements will make you feel like a veritable Force user.
Besides showing this wearable device during the first day of the Consumer Electronics Show 2016 in Las Vegas, Sphero has also unveiled a new version of BB-8. The droid will now look more like its movie version, being somewhat battle-worn and dirty, with slight hints of sand blasting across its ball-shaped body. But this is the only difference between this model and its previous new and shiny version.
Although J.J. Abrams has said that the BB-8 seen in the new Star Wars movie was a real live robot, nor he or Disney have revealed how the robot actually functions in maintaining its head in balance atop its round body. But a recent patent filed by Sphero in partnership with Disney has somewhat proven that BB-8’s head isn’t controlled in an independent manner, being one with the inside mechanisms of its body. This is made possible through and interior magnetic mast that maintains the head in an upright position while rolling but causes the head to tilt now and again while stationary.
BB-8’s lack of control over its head was also seen during the movie, with him leaning back and forth bit by bit while standing still. By controlling the wheeled-mechanism inside its body in order to provide motion, its head is used as a type of steering wheel, shifting body mass according to the desired direction of movement. Further details regarding the inner-workings of the full sized droid will most likely be revealed down the line by Sphero, with a high chance of releasing a 1:1 replica for commercial use as well, even if it will most likely cost you an arm and a leg.
Besides the new gesture control option for their little BB-8 droid, Sphero has also unveiled a couple of rather interesting devices. Feet-heating and step-counting sneakers that connect to the internet, an alarm talk that you can have conversations with, a shower head that dobs you when a specific amount of water has been used and fridge cameras that connect with each other, are just a couple of the devices shown at the CES2016 by Sphero. And the show has just begun, lasting until the 9th of January.
Although it has been shown how the Star Wars BB-8 droid by Sphero will get Force-like gesture controls, a release date for either the Force Band or the battle worn version of the droid has not yet been disclosed. But odds are that they will get a commercial release around the date of the new Star Wars movie, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story in Fall 2016.