Last week Disney unveiled the lineup of toys tied in to the release of The Force Awakens. One of those was Sphero’s BB-8 droid replica, a tiny rolling ball that you can control with an app on your smartphone.
I keep hearing that these are very hard to find in stores. They’re not out of stock online, though they appear to still be available at Sphero’s website and Best Buy. (Amazon appears to be out of stock.) If you’ve got $150 and some patience, you can have one of these little ball robots in your living room in 3-5 days.
If you can’t wait until then to see what makes it go, uBreakiFix has done the difficult Dremel-work of cracking one open.
The toy uses a counter-weighted gyroscope on two wheels to scoot it along and keep it upright. There is an arm with one of two sets of keyed magnets attached (the other is inside the BB-8’s head) that keeps the droid always facing forward. It’s pretty much exactly the same setup that the larger BB-8 uses (which was not developed by Sphero).
Sphero’s chief scientist Adam Wilson revealed to Polygon that they have plans for a BB-8 you won’t have to tear apart:
“It’s very tricky because you can’t see the mechanism inside,” he continued. “We have clear ones for development. It’s a complicated physical system for sure.”
The outer shell of the toy seems to be pretty thick and only has one seam, which the uBreakiFix folks couldn’t get apart. So cracking in to one yourself will take some elbow grease. Or you could just wait for one of the clear ones in order to show your kids how the robots work, to further prepare them for the robopocalypse.
(Or you could just tell them it’s witchcraft.)