Yeah, I own it, I’m a geek and am a big fan of both Star Wars and Star Trek. Uh oh, did I say something wrong? 🙂
Yesterday was a good day to be a Star Wars fan too: It was Force Friday II, and lots of companies introduced cool new gadgets, gear and toys tied to the Star Wars universe. To catch the latest and greatest, I headed to Best Buy. Here’s my field report…
While there was a ton of Star Wars stuff throughout the Park Meadows Best Buy I visited, all the cool new stuff was up front in a display manned by two people from the Imperial Battlecruiser “Corporate HQ”. One was assigned to the amazing Propel Drones, while the other was showing off the fun new Sphero Star Wars toys themed to R2D2, BB-8 and the new BB-9. In addition, there were Blu-Ray movie sets, toys, figurines, collectibles and even Star Wars socks. I did not indulge in the latter, I swear!
I really wanted to try out the new gadgets from Boulder-based Sphero and Propel, so I walked in and immediately started chatting with the guys running the demos.
First up, droids. I mean, seriously, who can resist a pint-sized droid that you can control directly from your smartphone??
If you don’t know which of these droids is BB-8 and which is R2D2, well, shame on you! This is basic contemporary culture we’re talking about!
As reflects our modern, high precision world, the details on these units was fantastic. Check out this closeup of R2D2. Remember, it’s only about 6″ high:
Fun to check out, it was 100x fun to actually pair with my iPhone 7 and control as R2 zipped around the store. All of the droids are made by Sphero and there are a couple of different apps you can get, depending on ‘droid. BB-8 has its own app, while R2D2 is controlled by the general Sphero app, albeit with some cool themed graphics and a very futuristic interface.
Here I am in the app, ready to pick which droid to control:
Having them show up, ready to control? Life is good.
R2D2 definitely does better on a smooth surface and had a bit of a challenge with the carpet on the floor at Best Buy, so at times it looked a bit, ummm, inebriated, but all part of the fun. Even more fun was watching people come into the store and see the Star Wars Force Friday display. About half of them were drawn to it like moths to a flame, some looked interested and kept walking, and one guy seemed way too busy for any of it, almost stepping on poor R2 when walking past!
Speaking of details and incredible models, Propel had two of its Star Wars drones on display and they were breathtaking. Check out this T-65 X-Wing Starfighter:
it comes with the cool light-up packaging and display box, but it’s a real drone, with blades that attach underneath the craft to push it up into the air and around the sky. The other model was the Tie Fighter and it too was very appealing:
In this photo you can see the props attached. What you can’t see is that there’s also an optional black “blade guard” that lets you land it without damage and makes sure it’s not quite as dangerous if you’re not a great pilot. Then again, the Propel drones have lots of training apps and learning games so you can become quite the drone pilot.
And you really want to do that because the Propel Star Wars drones have all sorts of fantastic innovations like Li-Fi, a light-based mechanism where they can communicate with each other so you and your friends can have some air battles and sorties without anything really getting damaged. So cool. So want to try it, but… Best Buy decided that flying drones inside the store was a bad idea (I can’t disagree) so these were for show, not for trying out.
Lots of great toys. In fact, I made a movie:
That’s it. If you have a chance, you really should pop by your local Best Buy and check out all the Force Friday Star Wars toys and gear. There’s a lot more than just droids from Sphero and drones from Propel. Those might just be the coolest, however. 🙂 You can learn all about this gear at Best Buy, as well as check out the Best Buy pages about the Sphero Star Wars Droids and the Propel Star Wars drones too!
Me? As I said at the end of the video, I’m going to rewatch Star Wars. But which episode first? Hmm….
Disclosure: Best Buy paid for me to attend the Force Friday event, which was nice because I would have done so anyway! #ad