Sphero's app-controlled BB-8 toy was big on Christmas lists. The Star Wars merch lets you send the little BB-8 replica whizzing around the room using your smartphone. And now we've got a proper look at the final design, during an early press preview.
Starting 30 September, the Special Edition bundle of the Force Band with BB-8 droid will be on sale for $199.99. If you've already bought last year's BB-8, the Force Band will still work with it and can be purchased separately for $79.99.
The white plastic design of the original BB-8 and the band look like something straight out of Force Awakens, with a distressed, pseudo-futuristic design. Aside from the visuals, the toys remain pretty much the same on the inside.
The band uses an accelerometer to track your hand movements e.g. moving side to side can turn BB-8's head or pushing forward can send it into driving mode. There's also two extra features that are part of the wearable.
You can catch 'holocrons' to collect little factoids that can be found in the accompanying app. If it's a weapon or ship you've found, the other Force Band feature lets you 'wield' it - as in selecting a new item will cause the band to make sounds when you move your arm around. If you find a lightsaber holocron, you can select it in the app and then wave your arm for the familiar saber-y noises.
Previously, it was shown off at various events like the Star Wars Celebration Europe.
Only since everyone's been asking. The Force Band in action. pic.twitter.com/bibhZVRMlE
— Sphero (@Sphero) 16 July 2016
Turn your palm down and the BB-8 will look away from you, up and it looks towards you. If you spin round, the BB-8 spins round - we saw a few gestures in action such as turning the toy's head and it all worked quickly and seamlessly. There are also currently LEDs to show which mode you are in, though this isn't necessarily going to be in the final design. As with smartphones, the Force Band pairs to the BB-8 toy via Bluetooth.
It's all 100% more adorable than before and adds a really personal element of interactivity that enhances the BB-8 fun times for kids. And, you know, us too, because if we didn't want one last year, we certainly do now.
The Force Band is officially licensed by Disney, following its own Playmation experiments in wearables. It will be available to buy for existing owners (no price yet) and bundled with the new roughed up, 'looks like it's spent some time roaming the Jakku deserts' BB-8 Sphero.
Of course, no one actually controls a BB-8 unit with gestures or The Force in The Force Awakens, they talk to it and it (he? she?) talks back. But if you have a problem with this, we suggest you stick to your pristine figurines.
Release details are still fuzzy but it looks like the band could still be available to buy by the end of the year.