Sphero's app-controlled BB-8 toy will no doubt big on Christmas lists again thanks to the Force Band wearable controller. The Star Wars merch lets you send the little BB-8 replica whizzing around the room using your smartphone.
And now the $80 Force Band will soon work with IFTTT to control your smart home with push, pull and stop "Jedi" gestures that you can map onto applets (previously, recipes).
Not the fastest way to control stuff, sure, but another good party trick when you're recharging BB-8. Check out Sphero's IFTTT page for ideas on what to set up.
The Special Edition bundle of the Force Band with BB-8 droid is 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 Disney-licensed 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.
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.
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.
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