At CES in January, we saw an early version of Sphero’s latest Star Wars plans. The Force Band was a wristband that let the wearer control a Sphero BB-8 with the Force (er, hand gestures), but we never imagined the finished product would look so cool or do so much. The Force Band is finally coming out at the end of this month, and not only does it look like tons of fun, it’s coming with a new friend — a battle-worn BB-8.
It’s an appropriate look for BB-8, because the Force Band looks like it’s seen a few battles itself. The black and orange band is a little scuffed up, and has the Rebel insignia in red on the top with a little reactor that lights up when the band is turned on. The band is made of nylon and can be held in place by both velcro and magnets, so you don’t have a Wiimote moment and send the band flying into a nearby TV with a too-strong flick of the wrist.
Speaking of wrist-flicking, the Force Band allows wearers to control a Sphero BB-8 using hand gestures. Not only does that mean it’ll turn or go forwards or backwards with hand waves, BB-8 will actually speed off and return in response to special gestures, too. While BB-8 is clearly the intended target, the Force Band can be used with other Sphero toys.
Sphero probably could have called it a day there, but they added a couple other features anyway. They created a Pokémon Go kind of game where the band vibrates when you’re around secret Star Wars characters. In the app, those characters can be collected as Holocrons, which provide extra tidbits of information about Star Wars. Can’t say we care much about that, because the other mode makes rad lightsaber sounds when you wave your arms, and that’s the only mode we need when we’re not Force controlling BB-8. This mode reminds us a little of the Moff sound effect bracelet we checked out last year.
The Force Band and the battle-worn BB-8 will both be available on September 30, but can already be preordered directly through Sphero. The Force Band will be available by itself for $80 or bundled with the new BB-8 for $200.