The BB-8 droid was one of the best parts of the first Force Awakens trailer: a tiny, scrappy mechanized ball that could move across rough ground surprisingly quickly. Even better, it wasn't CGI. That was a real robot, based on Sphero's iOS-controlled RC bot, customized with a new paint job and a moveable head to make it more at home in the Star Wars galaxy.
Now, an industrial designer named Christian Poulsen has made his own, opening the door for all manner of DIY droids. All it took was a new paint job for the Sphero ball and a new head, which Poulsen cut out of polyurethane foam. The Sphero directs itself through a stabilization arm, designed to always point upward, so Poulsen was able to keep the head tethered to the arm through magnets. Even as the ball turns, the head stays roughly vertical.
It's not perfect — it seems to have difficulty turning, for instance — but it's best to think of it as the first of many prototypes. And with this much enthusiasm around the upcoming film, we're expecting to see plenty more DIY droids pop up in months to come. Poulsen has a rough photo tutorial on his site if you want to try it out for yourself.