This article was published on January 26, 2016

Clever tricks to try with Sphero’s BB-8

Clever tricks to try with Sphero’s BB-8
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Who doesn’t love BB-8? This cute rolling ball of goodness, who made his debut in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, has stolen the show and won people’s hearts.

What’s even better is that before the movie was released in December 2015, Sphero – a startup robotics company – had brought the droid to life. With the size of a cue ball, this dome-headed droid came with several tech-savvy features such as patrol mode, AR-enabled holographic message and voice recognition.

Since it was released, there have been two sophisticated things you can expect from and one major update for BB-8.

Control BB-8’s movement with your mind

Some of you might ask, “How is that even possible?” While some others may think that since the dawn of technology, almost nothing is impossible.

Joshua Carr, a technical liason from IBM Worldwide Bluemix explained how Internet of Things (IoT) has changed our interaction with the physical world, and this including BB-8. To make this happen, Carr used a wearable device from Emotiv Insight, which essentially enables you to ‘read your own brain and understand what’s going on inside your head.’

What he did was he programmed the headset to understand certain brain command that he thinks so that the device ‘learns’ them, and sends the command off to the internet. Once the command is on the internet, he used the Bluemix technology to make the interaction between the headset and BB-8.

In this instance, he used a small amount of code to translate his previously transmitted brain command into a certain action, which is a simple push movement.

In the following video, he illustrated the whole process of ‘controlling BB-8 with his mind.’

For avid coder out there, you can get the compatible API which controls BB-8 here.

Use the ‘force’-enabled wristband

During the CES 2016, our reporter Bryan Clark had a chance to witness how BB-8 could be controlled using ‘simple force-esque movements‘ with Sphero Forceband.


At this moment, Sphero hasn’t announced yet how much the wristband would cost, or if it will be bundled with BB-8. All we know is the wristband will be released sometime this Fall.

Bonus: War-torn BB-8 model

grungey bb8

For those who pay attention to aesthetics, the upcoming new model for BB-8 was also shown during the same event. In this model, BB-8 has a rougher, dirt-covered look, much like its original version on the movie.

The new model is planned to be released around the same time just as the wristband, and the price will be similar to that of the current version, $150.

Fancy having your very own BB-8?

Every month, TNW Deals has techy things to give away for free. This time, our deal is a BB-8 droid by Sphero coupled with a complete saga of Star Wars movie on Blu-ray (’tis a heaven-like deal for Star Wars fans out there).

Click below to win the new BB-8!

Enter the giveaway



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