How The Hero Droid BB-8 Rolls

By now we’ve come to expect a bountiful harvest of licensed merchandise to follow every Star Wars film. This year’s crop included many flavors of BB-8 so every fan can find something to suit their taste. At the top of this food chain is a mobile interactive “Hero Droid BB-8”. For those who want to see how it works, [TheMikeSenna] cracked open his unit to feed our curiosity.

Also called “Spin Master BB-8” for the manufacturer, this toy is impressively sophisticated for its price point. The video surveyed the mechanical components inside the ball. Showing how the droid travels, and how the head articulates.

A second video followed, this time getting inside BB-8’s head. In addition to the obligatory array of blinking LEDs, it houses the speaker, an array of microphones for voice control interactivity, and multiple infrared emitter + receivers to implement the “follow me” functionality.

Some of the less visible implementation details were not covered. What is the division of labor between the circuit board in the head versus its counterpart in the body? There seems to be small antenna for the two parts to communicate. What do they say to each other, and how secure is that link? Until we find answers, this overview is sufficient for those who are less interested in hacking the default electronics and more interested in replacing them entirely.

It used to be you had to build your own BB-8 from scratch. There’s more than one way to accomplish this ball-style of robot and [Steven]’s summary of his journey starting from surveying different ways to move BB-8 to his encounter with people’s emotional reactions to a little ball robot covers most of that ground.

8 thoughts on “How The Hero Droid BB-8 Rolls

  1. “By now we’ve come to expect a bountiful harvest of licensed merchandise to follow every Star Wars film.
    This year’s crop included[…]”

    You misspelled “crap”.
    B^)

      1. I guess you could say that the form-factor isn’t what makes somthing special, C3-P0 wasn’t the first humanoid robot in all of fiction. I guess Ovid did it first. (Most likely he was the first to write it down and be remembered)

  2. Screwdriver: *check*
    Hammer: *check*
    Spatula: *check*
    Tape: *check*
    Floor: *check*
    Carpet: *check*

    The little 4-year old kid inside me says that everything’s there to start hacking.

    The older 50-year old guy inside me says that, well, I learned a few more things about the availability and use of different tools, in the last 46 years. :)

    Doesn’t matter much how much you damage everything during deconstruction, unless you don’t have the money to throw the pieces away and just buy a new one afterwards. But personally, I enjoy deconstructing as much as putting it back together and finding that it still works flawlessly. Or even better than before. Well, I guess there are just different kinds of hackers.

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