Sphero's BB-8, the cross-generational companion

Alain-Patrick Umucyo By Alain-Patrick Umucyo, 30th Nov 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3qqn3_vm/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Technology>Networking & Wi-Fi

'Star Wars : Episode VII The Force Awakens' will appear 38 years after the first Star Wars episode to have ever been released in theatres. The coming episode will then gather fans of all ages and may thus appeal to families.

The commercial version of Sphero's BB-8 is set to entertain both children and adults (1). The potentiality of upgrading it points towards its lasting presence in the modern domestic life (2).

1 BB-8, the bridge between two generations

“In an interview with Star Wars Insider, the artist responsible for the original trilogy concept art, said that he originally envisioned R2-D2 as a rolling droid.”(1) That vision is becoming a reality in the Episode VII.

BB-8 may be the original droid but it will only appear decades after the beginning of the saga. This relatively counter-intuitive situation gives to the robot the quality of a cross-generational item. The technology used to create the commercial BB-8 makes it possible for the robot to patrol autonomously and project holograms, “just like R2-D2 in the original Star Wars.”(2) That very technology is based on the engineering resources of a company, Sphero, which builds, among others, programmable little robots.

The current version of the commercial BB-8 is not programmable but, as highlighted by Rob Maigret, Sphero's BB-8 “is a computer”(3). The robot “does have a CPU, he is running an operating system”(4). These specifications leave room for additions to the abilities of the real life droid.

2 BB-8, the companion for the future

“Ultimately, Star Wars BB-8 by Sphero succeeds because it’s more than a toy, It’s a digital companion”(5) noted Lance Ulanoff in his review. The various shared content about the robot on social media has confirmed the analysis. Sphero's BB-8 has quickly found a place besides the other pets of the family, be it dogs(6) or cats(7).

After expanding on the patrol mode of Sphero's BB-8 and the extensive feedback it is possible to get from the robot, Mr Ulanoff looked forward future enhancements. Those will come because Sphero's “aspirations are much loftier than producing droids for 'Star Wars' super fans. Sphero aims to put a robot in every home. 'For us this the beginning of that journey,' said Mr. Maigret. 'What better way to start with a home companion than a loveable guy named BB-8.'”(8)

BB-8 may well be the first node of a network of connected apparatuses made by Sphero. It is then particularly interesting to bet on its commercial success.(9)


The present article was first published in the newsletter 'La Nouvelle Union'

Sources

Pictures :
- Top left > @THREECORGIS. “@drewbertcorgi is a dream! ...” . 09 October 2015. Instagram. <https://instagram.com/p/8mesIZh81-/?tagged=bb8> accesed 10 October 2015 ;
- Top right > @FRENCHIEOBIWAN. « One month until the magic happens ... » . November 2015. Instagram. <https://www.instagram.com/p/-PLzdKStQW/> accessed 28 November 2015 ;
- Bottom > @MARIANDPETS. “?#ねこ #cats #britishshorthair ...” . 10 October 2015. Instagram. <https://instagram.com/p/8qDkY3OqTl/?tagged=bb8> accessed 10 October 2015.

(1)SANCHEZ Carlos & GERLADO Emilio. How does BB-8 work ? - Concept (online). How BB-8 Works. <http://www.howbb8works.com/> accessed 06 October 2015

(2)ULANOFF Lance. Star Wars BB-8 by Sphero is the best holiday toy of the season (online). 19 September 2015. Mashable. <http://mashable.com/2015/09/19/star-wars-bb-8-sphero-review/#stDT9UjCiaqd> accessed 07 October 2015

(3)MAIGRET Rob. Sphero's Star Wars BB-8 Droid | Demo (online). 03 September 2015. Youtube. <https://youtu.be/jM9llwGSSdI?t=2m38s> accessed 15 October 2015

(4)MAIGRET Rob. Sphero's Star Wars BB-8 Droid | Demo (online). 03 September 2015. Youtube. <https://youtu.be/jM9llwGSSdI?t=2m40s> accessed 15 October 2015

(5)ULANOFF Lance. Star Wars BB-8 by Sphero is the best holiday toy of the season (online). 19 September 2015. Mashable. <http://mashable.com/2015/09/19/star-wars-bb-8-sphero-review/#stDT9UjCiaqd> accessed 07 October 2015

(6)- @THREECORGIS. “@drewbertcorgi is a dream! ...” (online). 09 October 2015. Instagram. <https://instagram.com/p/8mesIZh81-/?tagged=bb8> accesed 10 October 2015
- @FRENCHIEOBIWAN. « One month until the magic happens ... » (online). November 2015. Instagram. <https://www.instagram.com/p/-PLzdKStQW/> accessed 28 November 2015

(7)@MARIANDPETS. “?#ねこ #cats #britishshorthair ...” (online). 10 October 2015. Instagram. <https://instagram.com/p/8qDkY3OqTl/?tagged=bb8> accessed 10 October 2015

(8)RODRIGUEZ Ashley. How the Startup Behind the Hottest New 'Star Wars' Toy Preps for the Holidays (online). 11 September 2015. Ad Age. <http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/startup-bb-8-prepping-holidays/300312/> accessed 07 October 2015

(9)UMUCYO Alain-Patrick. The speculation around Sphero's BB-8 (online). 23 November 2015. Wikinut. <http://www.wikinut.com/in/xgdhii/www.wikinut.com/the-speculation-around-sphero-s-bb-8/3cc-b9vn/3mgbrmmp/> accessed 28 November 2015

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