BB-8 Robot Rolls Under Smartphone Control

This Star Wars droid replica is completely 3D-printed and runs on Arduino.

Jeremy S. Cook
10 days ago

BB-8 may not be the newest 'bot in the Star Wars universe, but that doesn’t mean that others aren’t still trying to replicate this droid. Given the way that its head stays attached to its body, this type of movement represents a unique challenge that hacker ilge ipek has decided to take on. Although it's still something of a work-in-progress (he intends to eventually add AI functionality), as seen in the video below, his work so far is still an impressive build.

This BB-8 is of course capable of rolling forwards and backwards, while its head seems to magically stay attached. It can also peek around corners with only its head section, and turn to face different areas when needed. The trick here is the robot’s clever internal structure, which moves forwards and backwards to alter the sphere’s center of gravity, causing the sphere to roll around in response. Magnets keep the head portion attached to the body sphere, and the internal device can change direction using differential steering to both control where it travels, to and rotate the head.

Impressively, the DIY droid is entirely 3D-printed. It's powered by an Arduino Nano clone on a custom PCB, while a Bluetooth module links it up to a smartphone for the user interface. It’ll be interesting to see how this project develops, and it's a good illustration of how this kind of 'bot works.

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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