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A BB-9E teardown only the dark side could enjoy

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Photo: Fictiv

Yesterday, Star Wars fans were blessed with the reveal of new toys and gadgets, including this glorious Lego Millennium Falcon as part of Force Friday II. Today, the folks at manufacturing platform Fictiv have decided to tear some apart. One of their victims is the mysterious black BB-9E droid toy robot from the upcoming film The Last Jedi.

The BB-9E is made by robotics company Sphero, and is similar to their BB-8 toy released in 2015. The Fictiv team decided to focus on two main parts in the teardown; the droid’s head and the weight compensation feature in BB-9E’s torso.

The head has red and blue lights for its eye and two panels. Fictiv said the head, which kinda resembles Darth Vader’s iconic helmet, had to be completely re-engineered from the BB-8 design, which did not have any lights and contained only magnets. BB-9E’s head is comprised of two LEDs and a light guide.

BB-9E’s head is magnetically attached to its body, and the bottom half of its head contains copper windings. The lights in the head are powered via induction. The induction coils make BB-9E more top heavy than BB-8, so Sphero engineers had to add a cast zinc counterweight to the bottom to compensate for that extra mass. The receiver coils are in the head, while the transmitter coils are in the body section of the droid.

BB-9E looks like the Dark Side version of BB-8, but there’s been no clue as to what role (roll?) the black doppelgänger will play. If you’re interested, the Fictiv team also tore apart an R2-D2.