Bored with controlling your new Sphero BB-8 with a smartphone or tablet? Don’t fret — you’ll soon be able to do it from your wrist. That’s thanks to a new wearable companion that the Star Wars: The Force Awakens tie-in toy is gaining later this year: The Force Band.
The Force Band, which the company demonstrated at CES 2016 on Monday, looks essentially like your typical fitness tracker, albeit noticeably bulkier. It’s packed with hardware that measures the orientation of your hand and sends commands to a paired BB-8. You enter “driving mode” by resting your hand by your side momentarily, and through a series of gestures you can move the drone forward, backward, and side to side.
Point your palm upward and BB-8 drives forward, and flip your palm downward and it drives backward. The speed’s determined roughly by your palm’s distance from the floor. The Force Band has a special “gesture mode” too, that’s enabled with the wave of a hand. In its current state, you can perform pre-programmed actions like a nod “yes,” but Sphero representatives have said they’re considering adding new gestures before The Force Band’s release.
Sphero also debuted a new drone model at CES: a grittier BB-8 featuring a sand-blasted, Jakku-inspired aesthetic. It’s functionally identical to the current BB-8 model, and will be priced the same when it retails later this year.
The Force Band is not yet ready for release, and the representative I spoke with at CES wasn’t willing to divulge pricing — the company is saving most of the details for next month’s Toy Fair. But given the $150 Sphero’s massive success over the holidays and the ravenous appetite for all things Star Wars right now, there’s no question that whatever its price, it’ll sell very, very well.
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