Sphero has just announced two new droids as a couple of fine additions to their Star Wars collection – R2-D2 and BB-9E.
Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen – here’s your very first look at Sphero’s two new droids joining their range of robotics – and available now at JB Hi-Fi. Always two there are – no more, no less.
You’ll remember 2015’s BB-8, that was released as an accompaniment to Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. He was an instant hit, and is now presumably in most households around the country. We caught up with director of prototyping Jon Carroll when he was in Melbourne to take a look at the two new Star Wars licensed products Sphero has in store.
To kick things off, the return of an old favourite – R2-D2.
He looks and moves exactly like his counterpart from the original trilogy, and is bound to be an instant favourite to Star Wars fans old and new. We’ve been told that he’s the only robotic R2-D2 with the retractable leg, and, well, you should’ve seen our faces when it first dropped down. He’s also built to scale.
R2 will – like the other droids in the collection – be controlled using the app on your phone or tablet, and can respond to a number of different commands. You can steer him around the table, swivel his head around, or even just get him to perform a number of emotes – including falling over as if he’s been immobilised by a Jawa:
R2-D2 will also include the ‘Watch With Me’ feature – you can watch Star Wars flicks with your handy droid pal by your side and he’ll react in real-time. This kicked off with BB-8 and The Force Awakens, was updated with the release of Rogue One, and will be joined by A New Hope – and eventually the rest of the catalogue.
He’ll also feature an Augmented Reality (AR) mode similar to BB-8’s, but R2 instead takes virtual tours of things like the Millennium Falcon, with the driver seeing things from R2’s POV.
Anyone, enough of R2 – onto the new stuff. Introducing BB-9E.
BB-9E is a First Order astromech droid – and that’s pretty much all we know about him. He hasn’t featured in any trailers or promotional images for The Last Jedi yet, and Jon told us that even his team knows hardly anything about him – all their directives from Lucasfilm and Disney are “very need to know”.
The new droid is very similar in shape to Poe Dameron’s companion BB-8, but decked instead in Dark Side Black™. Knowing nothing about him, we can assume he’ll probably have something to do with Kylo Ren and the Knights of Ren. Of course, we won’t actually find out until Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi hits cinemas December 14.
Similarly to BB-8, BB-9E is charged on an inductive charger base, and his head comes off. Jon told us that the head is powered through the body and doesn’t require any batteries or charging itself. You’ll notice in the pic above, too, that there is an additional base. The second, rectangular one is a sort of treadmill for BB-9E; he has a similar AR virtual tour to R2-D2, and the treadmill allows you to follow him on his journeys without the droid getting too far away from you.
These two new products from Sphero are bound to be on every Star Wars fan’s wish list come Christmas time – if they haven’t already bought them themselves. Ready for these, are you? What know you of ready?
What a happy droid family.
Bonus level – check out some happy snaps: