Update brings new social experience.
Those of you who bought the hit Star Wars BB-8 droid toy, based on the remote-controlled Sphero orb, will get a new experience if you watch The Force Awakens together.
The update was timed to coincide with the home video release of The Force Awakens, the Star Wars film that introduced BB-8 as the lovable companion droid for heroine Rey.
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When the film is playing in its vicinity, BB-8 will now listen for cues in the audio that trigger responses — according to the Wall Street Journal, the appearance of Han Solo and Chewbacca elicits wild excitement, villain Kylo Ren makes BB-8 cower, and the droid proudly burbles in reaction to its own performance.
In January, Sphero also unveiled a wristband that makes it possible to control the rolling toy with gestures.
There’s a lot of interesting tech in the BB-8 toy that could manifest in more serious applications in the future. However, the update shows how features can gradually appear in the product itself.
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Whether it be a hit toy or a hit album, new digital models make it possible to take what would once have been sold as a finished product and make it an ongoing work-in-progress.