This is definitely the droid you’re looking for: Hands-on with Sphero’s BB-8 toy

When the super cute droid, BB-8, made its debut in the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it was an instant hit. Disney partnered with robot-makers Sphero to develop a toy version and we saw it on the show floor at IFA in Berlin.

It was a struggle to get into the booth as BB-8 was really drawing the crowds, but we managed to get some play time with the diminutive droid. Sphero offers a whole range of different robots, but the chance to partner with Disney and bring BB-8 to life was irresistible.

Sphero’s version of BB-8 is a few inches high and it connects with your Android or iOS device via Bluetooth. There’s a gyroscope and accelerometer inside, along with a bunch with motors, and BB-8’s head floats magnetically on top of the revolving body.

The app is perfectly Star Wars branded and it allows you to remote control BB-8, or to trigger pre-programmed movements or wee animations where he lights up and babbles or nods to you. The authentic Star Wars sounds and music come from the app rather than the droid itself.

You can also record holographic messages in the app and BB-8 has an autonomous patrol mode where he’ll explore his environment and map it. You can actually track what it’s doing in the app in real-time, so there’s an educational aspect there. It can also listen and respond to your voice, and it’s supposed to develop its own personality over time, depending on what you do together.

BB-8 comes with a charging cradle and it takes around three hours to fully charge, from which you can expect one hour of play.

It’s definitely on the pricey side at $150, but Sphero sold out on the first day of the show, and it’s sure to be a popular toy in the run up to the holiday season. You can buy Sphero’s BB-8 droid on Amazon right now.

Mobile

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…
Computing

Everything you need to know about routers, modems, combos, and mesh networks

Modem vs. router: what's the difference? We explain their functions so you can better diagnose any issues prior to contacting technical support. We also talk about a few variants you'll see offered by ISPs and retailers.
Movies & TV

An Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series might be headed to Disney Plus

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney Plus compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.
Mobile

What we like and what we don’t like about the Samsung Galaxy S10

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 takes the elegant design to new heights, boasts incredible screen and camera tech, and offers speedier connectivity, but we don’t like the price and a few other things. Here’s what we like and don’t like about…
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.
Photography

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.
Deals

This new all-in-one flashlight is a power bank, lighter, and screwdriver

The Pyyros modular flashlight can perform numerous field tasks, from hammering to starting fires. If you back it on Kickstarter now, you can score some savings on this innovative flashlight and multi-tool, but act fast: This early-bird…
Movies & TV

Hilarious new Kickstarter aims to fix Scorcese’s last scene in The Departed

A fan of The Departed and apparent hater of rat-as-symbolism imagery has launched a Kickstarter campaign to digitally erase the rodent from the end of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 movie.
Emerging Tech

Baristas beware, Bbox cafe uses robots to brew your morning coffee

Want your morning coffee and pastry prepared by robot? Bbox, a new coffee shop in downtown Berkeley, California, lets customers place their order by app and then uses automation to take care of the rest.
Emerging Tech

This ridiculous new flamethrower makes Elon Musk’s look like a cigarette lighter

The XL18 Flamethrower is a flame-shooting beast on steroids, capable of firing off bursts of flame more than 110 feet in length. The best part? You can order it over the internet today.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX just nailed its most challenging Falcon 9 rocket landing to date

If you've been following the SpaceX launch calendar, you know this week marks the first launch from Cape Canaveral in two months. We have the details on where you can watch the launch live.
Emerging Tech

Touchdown! Japan successfully lands its Hayabusa2 spacecraft on asteroid Ryugu

Japan's space agency has just completed the latest stage of its extraordinarily complex mission, successfully landing its Hayabusa2 spacecraft on an asteroid millions of miles from Earth.
Emerging Tech

Delivery drones: NASA to test advanced traffic control system for cities

Delivery drone services are edging closer as NASA prepares to demonstrate its advanced drone traffic management system, which it claims offers safe and effective control of autonomous aircraft in urban areas.
Emerging Tech

Kickstarter campaign aims to help make 3D-printed space habitats for Mars

Mars X-House is an ambitious project that's intended to create a prototype future Mars habitat using 3D printing. And, thanks to a new Kickstarter campaign, you can be a part of it.