With the Star Wars-centric "Force Friday" event happening once again in the lead up to Star Wars: The Last Jedi this winter, New York startup littleBits is released a Droid Inventor Kit. The kit includes everything young Star Wars fans need to build their own working R2 unit.
At $99, the Droid Inventor Kit isn't coming cheap, but it's also not your typical toy. The kit comes with 20 Droid parts and 3 sticker sheets, but the meat is in the 6 "Bits" and the Droid Inventor App. These allow kids and even older Star Wars fans to build a functioning robot that can beep, whistle, move around and be controlled in various ways.
The app includes instructions for putting together the Droid, and has missions that will encourage kids to experiment with the Droid they've built.
The Droid can be driven around with controls in the app, can navigate automatically to avoid obstacles on its own, or can be guided with "Force Mode," which has the Droid move away from an extended hand.
Young inventors don't have to follow the rules though, and can experiment with their Droid to find new ways to use it or design it.
The chassis of the Droid is modular, so making custom parts out of random objects at home offers some creative possibilities. The "Bits" are also modular, and can be arranged as the "Droid Inventor" sees fit, perhaps with interesting functions as a result. Additional "Bits" can be purchased separately to bring even more capabilities to the Droid.
If you're looking for a toy with that encourages creativity and brings a little Star Wars flair, littleBits' Droid Inventor Kit might be it. It could even be a stepping stone for a kid interested in robotics, as littleBits has a lot more in its store, ranging from an LED matrix and a synth speaker to a wireless transmitter and Arduino.
The Droid Inventor Kit will be available at littlebits.cc and at Walmart, Amazon and the Apple Store.