This is the droid you're looking for - the BB-8 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Coming to a toy shop near you this Christmas
At the Star Wars: The Force Awakens celebration last Thursday we were given our first glimpse of what is likely to be the must-have toy of Christmas 2015: BB-8.
The rolling robot with the unshakeable head has been the unlikely star of The Force Awakens trailers and showcase – partly because it’s a practical, real world effect rather than CGI.
Now we’ve learned that the BB-8 robot has been designed in conjunction with the toy company Sphero – which has already made a motorised, smartphone-controlled ball.
Sphero is working with Disney to release a working version of the BB-8 robot in time for Christmas. There’s already a page on the website where you can sign up to get more information as it comes on stream.
Disney is very aware that the box-office receipts from the Star Wars franchise are only the visible part of the cash iceberg they create. Vast amounts of continuing, accruing wealth is generating by the merchandising – in particular, toys – that spins off the films.
BB-8’s killer usp is that it (he?) seems to fly in the face of reality – how can a ball move like that while the head stays secure and even manages to rotate on cue?
The most popular theories involve magnets and gyroscopes – and one resourceful observer has even customised his Sphero toy to create a working prototype.
Whatever the reality behind the magic, it isn’t going to be cheap. A cool $150 seems to be the price that the Internet is anticipating.
But even with that price tag, we predict BB-8 is going to be huge – you’re going to have to move as quickly as a Jedi to avoid disappointment…