Tech

We finally know how the real BB-8 actually works

Whisper it quietly but we think that BB-8 just might be the best Star Wars robot of the lot.

While, of course, we love old C-3PO and R2-D2 more than life itself, it was incredibly impressive how little BB - with some serious pressure riding on his, er, non-existent shoulders - managed to make us fall in love with him almost straight away in The Force Awakens, showing off a range of expression and emotion that few would have thought possible from a piece of old space junk.

And we love him that little bit more now after watching this fascinating video filmed at the Star Wars Celebration Europe event in London, where a panel was held featuring Oliver Steeples and Lee Towersey, the people behind R2's appearances in The Force Awakens and animatronics and programming experts Matt Denton and Josh Lee, who looked after BB-8.

There are a host of interesting facts and quirks revealed (from around 9:30 on the video above) about exactly what made BB-8 operate the way he did - chiefly that there were, in fact, seven different BB-8s used, all with different attributes enabling him to do different things on different terrains. All of them were modular, with replaceable parts needing to be used due to the extreme heat experienced during filming in the Rub’ al Khali desert.

The different BBs ranged from full-on robots to puppets, most of which needed two operators, one for the head and one for the body.

A proof of concept model, which took half a day to make, was shown off to the audience:

Meanwhile, the famous 'red carpet' version - which was not used in the film - had its internal engineering revealed, showing off exactly how an 'actual' BB-8 could be created for real:

It's a fascinating watch - treat yourself and put half an hour aside to check it out.

[via io9]