BB-8 is real!

BB-8 the new droid in the star wars franchise made his first public appearance at Star Wars Celebration last week. While cast and crew of the movie have long said that BB-8 is real, seeing it up on stage, driving circles around R2D2 takes things to a whole new level. BB-8 is real! But how did they do it?

The question remains, how exactly does it work? Hackaday has interesting articles on this already: BB-8 is real! But how did they do it? tries to give you some details how it could work.Mini BB-8 Droid Made from a Sphero shows a brilliantly simple hack that converts Sphero remote controlled ball to a miniature BB-8 clone. Here the head is held in the place with two magnets.



  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Build your own adorable BB-8 Star Wars: The Force Awakens droid

    There’s a new beloved Star Wars droid on the street and its name is BB-8. The spherical rolling robot rocked fans when it made its debut in the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser. Word got out out that it was actually a practical design instead of a computer-generated creation, but that was all confirmed over the weekend during Star Wars Celebration when BB-8 rolled out on stage in front of the assembled crowd both in house and watching online.

    The idea for BB-8 came after Bob Iger saw a phone-controlled toy called Sphero and thought it could be integrated into the world of Star Wars.

    Disney applied for a patent for what’s officially called the Magnetic spherical balancing robot drive back on March 17, 2010 and officially received it on Sept. 18, 2012.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The BB-8 Builds Begin

    [James] of XRobots doesn’t want to wait until the [BB-8] toys arrive, so he’s building his own. Right now, it’s just a prototype, but it’s the beginnings of the mechanics and control system of a very, very cool droid.

    XRobots – Star Wars EP7 BB-8 droid Prototype PART 1, Ball Balancing Robot

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BB8 Droid remote control toy first prototype

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Interactive Robot: Project Naughty Ball

    Regarding ball bots, we did have one friendly rolling companion at Maker Faire this year. It was a project by UC Davis students [Henjiu Kang], [Yi Lu], and [Yunan Song] that rolls around, seeking out whoever is wearing an infrared ankle strap. They team is calling it Project Naughty Ball, but we’re going to call it the first step towards a miniature BB-8 droid.

    The design of the Naughty Ball is somewhat ingenious; it’s set up as a two-wheel balancing bot inside a clear plasic sphere.

    There is a BeagleBone Black with WiFi adapter, a few motor drivers, an IMU, and a very interesting 3D printed mount that spins the robot’s eyes – infrared cameras that spin around inside the ball and track whoever is wearing that IR transmitting ankle band.

    Project Naughty Ball at Maker Faire

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Very Detailed BB-8 Robot Build

    [James Bruton] has just finished and posted the designs for his very impressive BB-8 robot build.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Ultimate 1:1 BB-8 Build Guide

    BB-8 is not only a cute little droid but also presents dandy of a challenge for hackers ’round the globe to try and recreate in the garage. Nonfunctional models are a dime a dozen and the novelty has long worn off the Sphero toy. This brings us to a legit full-scale BB-8, seen in action in the video after the break.

    Lucky for us, [Ed Zarick] has written up a blog post that’s as impressive as the build itself. [Ed] has drawn some inspiration and shared knowledge from several online groups focused around recreating the BB-8. He also provides some thorough Solidworks assemblies that look painfully detailed.

    Ed’s BB-8 Build Guide

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Perfecting The DIY BB-8

    Until about a year ago, the Droid Builder’s Club had just about everything figured out to build any sort of robot from Star Wars. Building an R2D2 clone was easy, and even R5 and R6 droids were common. There were even a few attempts to clone IG-88. Then Disney happened, The Force Awakens was released, and the world was introduced to the hero of the third trilogy, BB-8. Several people have gone to incredible lengths to replicate BB-8 as a unique homebrew robot, but no one has put in more effort than [James Bruton]. He’s wrapping up his third DIY version of BB-8.

    XRobots – Star Wars BB-8 Droid *VERSION 3 PART 12*, STABILITY UPDATE & Head

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How BB-8 Works Revealed At Star Wars Celebration Europe

    Finally the workings of the official BB-8 that you’ve seen rolling around at various events have been revealed. Its makers [Matt Denton] and [Josh Lee] participated in an hour-long presentation at Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016 just this past week where the various views of its internals were shown in action. It’s since had BB-8 builders (yours truly included) analyzing the workings for new ideas. We also now have the official name for it, red carpet BB-8.

    For the first half of their talk they went over how BB-8 was implemented for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

    Droids of The Force Awakens Panel | Star Wars Celebration Europe 2016

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    If you’ve seen the DIYer’s guide to the different BB-8 drive systems then you’ll understand when we say it’s a pendulum drive (aka axle drive).

    Driving BB-8: More Than One Way to Move this Bot

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    DIY Life-Sized Star Wars BB8 Droid

    Are you a Star Wars movie fan? Have you ever admired of the futuristic droids, R2-D2 and BB8 of the latest remake, that the movie has introduced to us? If yes, then what if I can tell you that you can build your own life-sized BB8 droid? It’s basically a ball that you can freely control and spin. Interesting, right? We can actually build a low-cost DIY life-sized BB8 droid with just simple and cheap materials to use.

    Build A Life-Size Phone Controlled BB8 Droid (Full-DIY-Tutorial)

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    My DIY BB-8: Problems, Solutions, Lessons Learned

    The first was to keep it low-cost. Some spend $1000 to $1500 on their BB-8s. I wanted to spend as little as I could, so as many parts as possible had to come from my existing stock and from online classifieds and thrift stores. Not counting the parts that were discarded along the way, the cost came in just shy of $300.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How to Build a BB-8 Robot

    How to Build a BB-8 Robot? today i will teach you step by step, it’s easy.

    That’s right, the robot I teach you to make this time is the BB-8 in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Ever since the first official trailer was released in October, the adorable BB-8 in its peculiar design has attracted a large number of fans and its popularity is comparable to some main characters. Of course, it itself is a leading character who played many parts in the film. At the world premiere in Los Angeles, BB-8 also‘rolled over’red carpet as one of the major characters.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    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.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BB-8 Robot Rolls Under Smartphone Control
    This Star Wars droid replica is completely 3D-printed and runs on Arduino.
    DIY BB8 – Fully 3D Printed – 20cm Diameter First Prototype of Real Size


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