Some Genius Made a Tiny Working Replica of The Force Awakens' BB-8 Droid

Like with R2-D2, BB-8, the adorable rolling droid companion that will be appearing in Star Wars: The Force Awakens this December, was realized as an actual remote control prop on-set, not computer graphics. And just days after the robot was officially revealed on stage at Star Wars Celebration, some brilliant hacker has created a perfect RC replica of their own—although a little smaller in scale.


It’s been rumored that Orbotix, the company known for its smartphone-controlled RC ball Sphero, actually helped Disney bring BB-8 to life for the movie. So it’s only appropriate that Christian Poulsen hacked apart a Sphero toy to build his BB-8 replica. And the results are really impressive.

If you’re interested in building your own BB-8—and who isn’t?—Christian has posted a break down on how he hacked and assembled his over on Make, including the use of a CNC milling machine to carve the lightweight head out of foam. And if you haven’t guessed already, the real secret to how BB-8 works is a pair of magnets on the inside and outside of the plastic sphere that keeps the head aligned with the self-righting mechanism on the inside as it rolls about. Amazing. [Make]

Illustration for article titled Some Genius Made a Tiny Working Replica of The Force Awakens' BB-8 Droid

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The only thing I don’t get is why in the original trailer BB-8’s head stayed pretty balanced on the top portion of its body, but in the press special they had on a stage where they brought him out, its head is constantly leaning to one side (e.g. leaning forward as he moves forward) as he moves and is only upright when he’s standing still. Which to me confirms that for that part of the original trailer when they show BB-8 rolling (running?) pretty fast it is a CG model and other parts of the film will have the actual bot when there isn’t a lot of movement involved.