Reviews and raves are pouring in for the newly-released and hyper-adorable droid from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, perhaps none more fervent and impassioned than from Vulture’s Kyle Buchanan. Consider:
“Reader, I screamed so loud that you would have thought I was a preteen with Harry Styles on my charging plate. This was too adorable, too fast.”
The little droid is controlled via app and you can own it for $150, allowing you to join Buchanan in rolling it all around your home, barreling it into furniture and confusing your dog. But it turns out that the BB-8 is more than just a novelty movie tie-in collectible. Sphero, the promising start-up company that produces it, has packed this toy with some impressive technology, allowing it to respond to voice commands, create and view holographic recordings, and gradually adapt to its environment.
From a feature on the BB-8 that appeared in Fortune:
“But the company’s big secret is that Sphero’s API isn’t confined to just rolling a round object. According to Berberian, their code can be used to propel anything that moves in three-dimensions. “Just because it’s connected to a ball, it moves the ball,” he said. “But if we were to connect it to anything—a car, a helicopter, a boat, a submarine, a forklift—it’s the same command set.”
So, this holiday season, one of the most coveted Christmas gifts could also be a glimpse into a tech-driven possible future filled with app-controllable construction cranes or military aircraft that use the same basic object tracking and recognition built into this fascinating little Star Wars toy.