Sphero – the creators of the wonderful BB-8 droid – has recently launched two new models in celebration of the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi; R2-D2 and BB-9E.
These two droids both make an appearance in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Of course, everyone will recognise the astromech droid R2-D2 from Jedi Luke Skywalker’s earlier adventures, but there was more of a shroud of mystery surrounding BB-9E before the release of the latest film. Though he is similar in shape and size to BB-8, why the dark colours? Surely he was going to be Kylo’s droid? An angsty ode to his troubled teenage years?
Now, of course, we have all the answers, and we’ve also got the droids in our own homes to play with – just don’t go trying to make them impersonate any deities. It’s against their programming.
BB-9E is, as we mentioned before, very similar in shape and size to Poe Dameron’s BB-8. He’s a little sphere with a detachable head, but considering he’s a First Order astromech droid, he’s decked out in Imperial Inner Turmoil Black®.
BB-9E is charged through an inductive charging dock that won’t look out of place when sat next to the other Star Wars collectibles on the shelf of your theatre room wall (fun fact – the charging docks for BB-8 and BB-9E are interchangeable). Additionally, he has a kind of treadmill that allows him to roll in place. This gives you the chance to get as close to the real deal as possible; you can embark on an augmented reality tour (through the app on your phone) using BB-9E as your guide.
Speaking of the app, you’ll be able to do all kinds of cool tricks with the First Order droid whilst following standard Imperial procedure (minus the dumping of the garbage). There are a number of pre-programmed inputs available to let you steer your new pal in all sorts of cool directions, as well as the obvious ‘joystick’ that gives you complete control.
Of course, what all veteran Star Wars fans will be waiting for is R2-D2. Luke’s sassy astromech droid has been around since the very first film in 1977, and now the boffins at Sphero have designed one for us to play with.
We’re told he’s the only recreation of R2 that features the retractable middle leg, and honestly, it’s a worthy investment for that reason alone. He’s built to scale, and yes, his head swivels around, too. It’s as close to the real deal – albeit smaller – as you’re going to get.
Like the rest of his droid family, you’ll be able to control R2 through the app, with a number of preset commands – including the old ‘shocked by a Jawa’ schtick.
All of Sphero’s Star Wars droids are controlled through the same app, though obviously you can’t control more than one at once. They include the same ‘watch with me’ feature, too; put a Star Wars movie on and they’ll watch with you and react to scenes in real time.
You can set the droids simply to ‘patrol’ a given area, where they’ll change paths if they run into something like a Roomba. They’ll also interact with one another if they’re close enough. While BB-9E’s sound comes from your app, R2 has in-built speakers.
If you ever find yourself in Tosche station in search of some power converters, why not grab one of these while you’re at it. Time to witness the power of these fully operational droids for yourself.
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