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The tech that brings 'Star Wars' droid BB-8 to lifeMove over, R2-D2. BB-8, a new droid in the upcoming "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" movie, has already captured the attention and imagination of the sci-fi franchise's fans. CNET's Brian Tong explains how a robotics startup called Sphero helped bring the...
Featured for just a few seconds when the trailer for Star Wars, The Force Awakens, BB8 is already a star stealing the spotlight from veteran R2D2. The newest droid that rolled out at the recent Star Wars celebration convention has this little robotic ball to thank for its smooth moves. Sphero an app controlled ball first came out in 2011. Last year the Colorado based company participated in a Disney sponsored contest for startups. And that's when it caught the eye of Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger. Bob saw that the Sphero product and it rolling around and kind of let them in on what was being created in Star Wars the Force Awakens and Asked them, Could you bring this to life? We felt that if there was anybody who could bring a ball to life, it was us. Spiro's goal of putting a robot into every home just got a huge boost with the release of the BB8 toy which will retail for about $150. Through the app you can drive BB8 around or let it explore on its own. Fans can also record a short message that will appear in the app like a hologram. Help me BB8, you're my only hope. The toy is part of a huge marketing and merchandise blitz that precedes the movies opening that is set for December 18th. In a galaxy not at all far away, Brian Tong Cnet.com for CBS News