Squeaky Mouse Droid VS. Squeaky Rolling Droid

Chewbacca

Squeaky Mouse Droid VS. Squeaky Rolling Droid

Every hear of that new Star Wars droid called BB-8? This article is about him.

But first:

I, your Squeaky Mouse Droid, am always eager to give some Star Wars news to the readers of ComicBooked. That’s my primary function if you take my meaning. In particular, I want to keep you all updated on  the new film The Force Awakens. It comes out in three months, so it’s both odd and brilliant that the news has been so spotty that I’ve not had anything hugely substantial to write a column about. Yes, I am like everyone else: I’m waiting for that trailer to drop. That way, I can examine every last frame.. every last pixel… for you. However, there is no trailer yet, and that fact has sent the Squeaky Mouse Droid scurrying back into the dark. It’s kind of brilliant on  JJ’s part how little marketing he and his team have done for this film. Of course, if the movie is a dud, we’ll know why. I think the movie will be good just because.. of everything I’ve seen so far (just having TIE Fighters blaze across the screen will automatically bring me back to 1983). So, despite the film getting closer and closer, it’s kind of a slow news week.  

It took almost a month, but I finally got it: the Sphero BB-8 droid. Sold some old things I didn’t need so it didn’t break my monthly budget, and now I have a great new friend in my house. He is more advanced than a mouse droid. He squeaks like a mouse droid, He gets easily scared like a mouse droid. He has more personality than a mouse droid and almost as much personality as R2-D2. He’s the best toy to come out in a long time. The Sphero version is a toy that is actually targeted to adults (for kids, you can’t go wrong with the Target-exclusive remote controlled BB-8). Kids will love this version too, but it’s the adults with an appreciation for technology and ingenuity that will get a kick out of this droid.

Squeaky Mouse Droid
My droid, on the lookout for Jawas and other scavengers.

Make no mistake, it’s still a toy. It’s not like most gadgets that actually serve functions that are useful to work or just living as well as recreation. This is meant to be played with. It won’t help you organize anything, and it won’t make calls. It won’t browse the web or boost this, that or the other thing. While it does a whole lot more than you’d expect just from looking at it, the list of things it actually does is limited. That’s not a criticism at all, just an observation. It seems that most toys targeted to adults must, if they are high-tech, also help somehow. I mean, hell, consoles that allow us to play video games also allow us to use streaming services, or play music. What BB-8 does help with is making the user grin. Young, old, or even those adults who are super skeptical from the outset, those who fold their arms across their chest because there’s no way a new toy will ever break through that wall behind which the naked circuits of their genuine emotions lie. Somehow, this droid can roll past that wall, and – well – there you go. He’s charming, funny, exuberant, funny, and endearing. When you aren’t appreciating the ingenuity that went into its design, you are laughing because you are hoping it will figure out how to find its way around the furniture. This device might be the most hi-tech item making waves right now, but in some ways it brings the most basic emotions back the surface. When I use him, the television  and the PlayStation get turned off, and the computers are all ignored. I’m not concerned with Facebook or Twitter, or how high I can score or what level I can achieve or how I can share it with my friends. I’m not concerned with what’s currently “trending.” As I set BB-8 in autonomous mode and let him wander freely around the house, with e doing absolutely nothing except watching him, I feel like a six-year old child watching a little puppy explore his new home. (Clarification: I’m not saying that the droid will replace a little doggie, but it can replicate the joy one might have while watching dog play at Christmas).

As BB-8 explores, he takes readings in search of hostile and friendly lifeforms, registers all collisions in his log (there’s even a diagnostic diagram on the display the registers where on his body the collision  takes place) and even keeps a record of the exact distance it traveled. Of course, in “drive” mode I can pilot BB-8 myself, and change his moods. The technology that keeps his head onto the body (must be a magnet mixed with some kind of gyroscope that keeps the head always away from the ground) that must be simple in principle that you can’t help admire it’s ingenuity in a time where most people admire technology for it’s versatility.

My favorite feature: you can say (in your best Admiral Ackbar voice) “It’s a trap!” and BB-8 will dart away as if his life depended on it.

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