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Brookstone - BB-8 App-Enabled Droid by Sphero

The original Sphero app-enabled robotic ball that I covered two years ago (see earlier post) is lots of fun -- for driving, racing, programming, or messing with toddlers and cats on the floor.

This season's addition is the Star Wars-themed BB-8 App-Enabled Droid (also available from Brookstone).

The BB-8 not only rolls freely under smartphone control, but adds a separate head that floats on top as the body rolls -- physically implementing the computer graphics effect from the movie.

The head actually is attached magnetically, and rolls along the surface of the ball with small wheels -- although it does fall off if you smack into a wall too hard, which also causes the BB-8 to stop and pout.

You can drive the BB-8 from the smartphone app (iOS or Android), and have it perform predefined actions (like shaking its head "yes" and "no").

It's pretty fast, with a top speed of 4.5 mph (7 feet/sec.), although you can set a maximum speed limit for smaller spaces. It communicates over Bluetooth, over a range of up to 100 feet.

You also can set up the BB-8 to patrol autonomously, exploring an area and feeding back sensor information (speed, temperature, graph of motions), although it really is not mapping out the space.

The BB-8 also responds to voice commands ("OK BB-8 -- Wake Up, Go to Sleep, Look Around, Go Explore").

And you can record "virtual holographic videos" in the smartphone app.

The BB-8 is palm-sized at 4 1/2 by 3 inches (11.4 x 7.3 cm), and relatively light at just over 7 ounces. It recharges wirelessly in the charging base for a play time of around an hour.

The BB-8 App-Enabled Droid is generally available for $149.

- See Holiday Gadgets 2015 for more on fun holiday tech.
- And the full article in Princeton's U.S. 1 Newspaper:
    Gift Ideas for the Mobile Tech Crowd.

Find the BB-8 App-Enabled Droid on Amazon.com

Manifest Tech Site

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This entry posted on December 14, 2015.

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