When fans saw BB-8 in the first trailer for The Force Awakens
, many undoubtedly assumed that the spherical droid was computer-generated, given the seemingly impossible manner in which his head remained in place while his body rolled across the ground. (Click on the links below to check out our photo archives.)
Soon after however, fans discovered that BB-8 was a practical effect, and the science that was used to create the full-size droid has been reproduced in Sphero's line of app-enabled droids, first for BB-8, and then in BB-9E that was released on Force Friday II, along with a similarly-scaled R2-D2.
In addition to being able to control the droids' movements using Sphero's app, each is packed with a number of extra features that provide hours of fun.
Not only can you watch Star Wars
movies with the droids, where they interact with the action on screen, you can also have them patrol rooms, use the Augmented Reality Droid Trainer as well as explore holographic simulations from the Star Wars
In an age of electronic devices, it takes something special to distract kids (young and old alike!) from games consoles and TV screens, and while there is a smart device involved, the ability to control your droid does encourage more than just sitting on a couch. Each droid has an array of sounds taken directly from the movies and a big hit with the kids is recreating the scene where R2-D2 is shocked by a Jawa, to the point where he falls over! Seeing his third leg automatically extend is also something quite remarkable!
For these reasons and more, Sphero's app-enabled droids make great gifts, and while they may fall into the high-end collectible category due to the price, they definitely represent good value for money.