Sphero Introduces BB-9E And R2-D2 For Force Friday And Fathers Day

It’s Force Friday and Sphero is celebrating with the introduction of two new droids to accompany their incredibly popular BB8 droid. The all new First Order droid BB-9E, is a new spherical droid that looks like a great foil for the loveable BB-8. And an all new R2-D2 robot had the three teenagers in my house jumping for joy.

The new Sphero Star Wars app (I’ve been testing a pre-release version) lets you control multiple droids. I added both BB-9E and R2-D2 to the app. Switching between the active droid is simple – just tap the icon in the top-right corner of the app and choose a droid or connect to a new device.

Attention to detail

Both droids look incredible. R2-D2 is a familiar to everyone and the Sphero team have done a great job of creating a faithful reproduction.

I spoke with Jon Carroll, Director of Prototyping and one of Sphero’s founders, and he told me every aspect of the Star Wars product line goes through a strict approval process with Lucas Film to ensure the Star Wars brand is not tarnished.

We haven’t seen BB-9E before. Its body is similar to BB8 but the head is squarer, making it look more sinister.


R2-D2 is pretty easy to drive. The left/right and backwards/forwards controls are easy to operate and there are bunch of ‘canned’ actions. For example, you can tap a button to make him rock from side to side and let out his famous “squee”.

BB-9E takes some practice to control. I had to reduce the tracking speed to a very low level while I got the hang of the controls.

The app also lets you draw a track that the droid can follow on the floor.

In order to prove my commitment in testing, I watched The Force Awakens with R2-D2 on the floor with me. The app has a movie mode where the Sphero droids react to audio from the movie.

So, in the scenes when Kylo Ren and his troops attack Jakku and Takodana, R2-D2 got quite excited. To be honest, while it’s a cute feature, it can get a little annoying to have those beeps and squeaks going on while watching a movie.


BB-9E is an astromech droid that specialises in keeping starships and machinery fully operational.

The revelation of BB-9E isn’t just about the public debut of a new droid – the first time a Dark Side (or, at least, a “bad guy”) droid has been a featured character. One of the features BB-9E brings is a virtual tour of a new First Order ship and the ability to explore the Star Wars galaxy through a holographic simulator.


BB-9E retails for $249.99 and R2-D2 will set you back $299.99. They are available through EB Games, Tech 2 Go, JB Hi-Fi, Zing, Apple and Harvey Norman.

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