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This article was published on January 5, 2016

Sphero’s updated BB-8 can be controlled by a ‘force’-enabled wristband

Sphero’s updated BB-8 can be controlled by a ‘force’-enabled wristband
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

CES Unveiled tonight had a lot of amazing products, but we were particularly drawn to a very familiar face – a robot that the entire world fell in love with over the past few months: BB-8.

Sphero, the company behind the robot toy, showed off a new companion wristband today that will let players control the droid with gesture-based movements, or “using the force” as a Sphero representative called it.

The prototype we played with wasn’t quite complete, but it was fully controllable with simple force-esque movements such as pushing your wrist/hand forward to move BB-8 forward…


…and pulling your wrist back in order to make BB-8 retreat.


The adorable little robot also followed your hand as you move the wristband around his head.


grungey bb8The Force Band component will also be released alongside an updated look for BB-8, which features a grungier, dirtier-looking aesthetic – much like it looked in the movie after roaming the Jakku desert for Rey.

Sphero has yet to name a specific price – the company estimates the new version of BB-8 will go for around $150 but will not confirm whether this includes the gesture wristband. We’ll see the new, grungier, force-controlled BB-8 sometime in the fall of 2016.

Until then, smartphone-controlled BB-8 is still a lot of fun.

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