As if Sphero’s app-controlled robots weren’t cool enough already, now they’ve come up with a couple of Star Wars zingers. PAT PILCHER reports.
Sphero made a big splash when they announced the smartphone controlled BB-8 (the ultra-cute spherical droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens). Since then, BB-8 has gone on to become one of the more wanted Star Wars collectables on the market. Now history may be about to repeat as Sphero have announced two new smartphone controlled droids – R2-D2 and the BB-9E.
Unless you’ve been living underneath a Bantha for the past 30 years, you’ll probably already know who R2-D2 is, but odds are that you’re probably a bit stumped by BB-9E. Imagine the dark alter ego to the oh so cute BB-8 droid. According to the rumour mill, there is a strong chance that BB-9E will be in The Last Jedi, which is set to hit cinemas in mid-December.
Both droids are driven using either iOS or Android smartphones. The app has a bunch of features unique to each droid. R2-D2 for instance, can re-enact the getting zapped and falling over scene from its capture by Jawas in the first movie, and there’s a tonne of others.
Sphero have put a lot of effort into R2-D2. One of the coolest features they’ve equipped R2 with is the cyber equivalent of Tourette’s. This is thanks to integrated audio designed by Bose. As you drive R2 about, he bloops and bleeps up a storm. The sounds are straight from the Star Wars: A New Hope too.
Unfortunately, BB-9E is a mute. This is because a speaker couldn’t be easily fitted into its spherical body. That said, you still get BB-9E sounds from your smartphone. BB-9E might not talk much but the head mounted on its body is illuminated, which looks cool.
The Sphero app has been updated too, and now one app drives all the Sphero droids. It’s also been given some augmented reality chops. According to the Sphero guys, R2-D2 and BB-9E will also be programmable using Apple’s Swift coding platform.