Print your own BB-8 Droid using these free 3D-printable files

Tomorrow is the big day when Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally opens in theaters worldwide.  As we ramp up to the movie’s big debut, we can’t help but take notice of the awesome Star Wars creations coming out of the maker community.  We’ve already seen a Tie Fighter Drone, an AT-AT in Fallout 4 and a clever lightsaber game from Google. And that’s just a small sampling, the 3D-printing community also has contributed to the Star Wars hype with their collection of memorabilia, including the awesome Kylo Ren helmet we saw last month. The latest creations to make the headlines are these BB-8 Droids models from the BB-8 Builders Club and J.R. Bédard.

As many of you Christmas shoppers know, the most popular maker of the BB-8 Droid is toy robotics company Sphero, which released its official BB-8 Droid earlier this year on Force Friday. You can purchase the fully assembled Droid for $149, but that’s only if you can find it. To make your own BB-8 Droid, you need to look at the work being done by the BB-8 Builders Club, an international group dedicated to building a high-quality replica of the popular Droid and creative maker Jean-René Bédard.

Using their skills to “awaken the force of 3D printing,” the team at the BB-8 Builders Club has been rapidly prototyping their version of the Droid. They are releasing their STL files to the 3D printing community under a Creative Commons license that allows others to print a custom version of the droid. Their efforts have gained the attention of LucasFilm, which has officially recognized the group. They have also been featured on high-profile sites such as, Tested, and the Discovery Channel.

Another impressive version of the BB-8 Droid was developed by software engineer Jean-René Bédard. The droid created by Bédard is more than just a pretty plastic shell — it is powered by Arduino and includes self-balancing wheels. The droid has a remote control system that allows the user to move the droid, play Star Wars appropriate sounds and control programmable LEDs. Bédard is still working on his design and hopes to release the 3D-printable STL files and building instructions soon. In the future, he wants to ditch the wheels and create a version of the droid that works more like the movie version. It will use self-orienting magnets to create a rolling body and a stationary head that can be moved left or right.

Emerging Tech

‘Rogue medicine in a bathtub’: 4 experts on the vice and virtue of pharma hacking

A biohacker, pharmahacker, and two bioethicists walk into a bar. We ordered them a metaphorical round and had a chat about the risks and rewards of DIY medicine — from unsanctioned gene therapy to medication made on the kitchen counter.
Movies & TV

'Star Trek: Discovery' has found its Mr. Spock for season 2

The crew of the U.S.S. Discovery will return for more adventures on CBS All Access in the near future. Here's everything we know about Star Trek: Discovery season 2, from the cast and themes to the season premiere.

Listen up! These are the best movie soundtracks of all time

Whether you're a lover of beautifully composed original scores or a fan of perfectly compiled background music, these are the best movie soundtracks of all time — from Star Wars to Garden State.
Movies & TV

Can't get enough lightsaber action? Here's how to get your Star Wars fix online

Few of us want to deal with DVDs or Blu-ray discs anymore. Unfortunately, the Star Wars movies are few and far between when it comes to streaming. If you want to watch Star Wars online, check out our guide on where to find them.

Between the Streams: $100M Star Wars series, Jean-Luc Picard returns

This week, we'll talk about the new $100 million Star Wars series headed up by Jon Favreau, as well as Sir Patrick Stewart's return to perhaps his most iconic role, Spike Lee's critically acclaimed new film, and much much more.
Emerging Tech

Stanford A.I. can realistically score computer animations just by watching them

Researchers at Stanford University have developed a computer system that’s able to synthesize realistic sounds for 3D animation, based entirely on its knowledge about the physical world.

You don’t need to go autonomous to make trucking safer

Long haul truckers are very good at their jobs, but they face long hours and unpredictable conditions. Autonomous tech may be coming, but here’s how lidar technology companies are working to enhance trucking safety today.
Emerging Tech

No keyboard? No problem. Masterkey will project you a virtual one to type on

Miss having a physical keyboard when you're out and about? Wish you could have a mobile display bigger than your smartphone can offer? Masterkey 4.0 is a wireless projector that promises to help.
Emerging Tech

Be a master of your own ever-changing ‘galaxy’ with this kinetic wall art

Art Machine is a stunning work of kinetic art that looks like a continuously swirling galaxy or turbulent weather formation viewed through a ship's porthole. Check it out in all its glory.
Emerging Tech

Omega Centauri hosts 10 million stars and probably not an ounce of life

Omega Centauri is about 16,000 light years away, making it visible to the naked eye. And it contains some 10 million stars, making it the largest globular cluster in the Milky Way. But it probably doesn't have an ounce of life.
Emerging Tech

The world’s first practical quantum computer has cash and a timeline

The dream of building a practical quantum computer could be closer than ever, thanks to a $15 million grant from the National Science Foundation to seven universities around the United States.
Emerging Tech

Forget flying cars: This shoe-tying robot is proof that the future is here

Engineering students from the University of California, Davis, recently built a robot whose sole personality in life is to tie shoelaces. It cost them under $600 to do it as well!
Emerging Tech

Bizarre stork robot uses a drone to compensate for its weak, twig-like legs

Developed by engineers from Japan’s University of Tokyo, Aerial Biped is a robot whose top half is comprised of a flying quadrotor UAV that's rooted to the ground by thin stork-like legs.
Emerging Tech

A treasure trove of 3D scientific specimens is now free to see online

Thanks to the California Academy of Sciences, you can access more than 700 scientific specimens and artifacts from the world-class collection via the online 3D and virtual reality platform Sketchfab.