The geekson loves robots. He has just saved up all his pocket money for months to buy a giant, cuddly R2D2.
So when he first clapped eyes on the trailer for the new Star Wars film, it was only natural that the character that drew his attention was the new robot – BB-8. BB-8 is a cute little robot, made up of a spherical ball body with a little head on top that can move independently. When I first saw the trailer I assumed he was created digitally, as a CGI effect, but I later learned that no, he was a real robot, created for the movie by robotics company Sphero.
Imagine my delight last week when I learned, via Gadgety News (the blog of one of my fellow Panasonic Viera VIP Club members) that Sphero were close to launching a toy BB-8 robot. I watched the trailer and fell in love with him. He’s about the size of an orange, and controlled via a smartphone app. He can be driven around by simply tilting your device, or you can put him into “explore” mode to have him work his own way around the environment. And he even has a little built-in holographic messaging system so you can use him to send little messages to your friends or family.
I knew the geekson would want one. And more than that, I wanted one too!
Last Saturday Sphero opened up pre-orders for the BB-8 robot. At $149.99 plus $25 shipping to the UK he is not cheap (that’s about £113 at current exchange rates), but I didn’t feel he was extortionately priced for the amount of playtime I am sure we are going to get out of him. So I went ahead and ordered us one.
It just so happened that last Saturday I also happened to be at IFA, a very large electronics expo in Berlin. I was there as a guest of Panasonic, but after we’d seen all the cool stuff Panasonic are close to launching in the UK (that’s another blog post), we got some time to explore the show by ourselves. I headed straight for the Sphero stand, and was delighted to see the BB-8 in action. There were two on show, being directed around a little track by the Sphero staff, and they looked great fun. I couldn’t tell how hard they were to control, but I’m sure we’ll be able to master ours, given enough practice 🙂
Now the only question remains, when it arrives can I be strong-willed enough to put it away for the geekson for Christmas…? Only time will tell.