Ethan Miller/Getty Images
By David Meyer
April 5, 2016

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 smartphone app that controls the toy received an update on Tuesday that introduces a feature called Watch With Me.

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.

For more on Star Wars, watch :

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.


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