3 Reasons Soccer Ball Droid BB-8 Is an Inferior Design to R2-D2

3 Reasons Soccer Ball Droid BB-8 Is an Inferior Design to R2-D2

This highlights how impractical Star Wars: The Force Awakens's soccer ball droid BB-8 is.

Read Full Article

I would like to think that it has an alt form similar to the Destroyers Obi-Wan and Qui-Gonn faced off against in The Phantom menace.

Good stuff (although marred by some typos - "roll", not "role", "brake", not "break"). A much better ball design would be covered with small retractable spikes that could deploy while rolling (and incidentally serve as protection), which would alleviate most of the problems you mention, but it's hard to see how it would manage on any significant slope. For me, that's the biggest problem - not how does it move, but how does it stand still?

008Zulu:
I would like to think that it has an alt form similar to the Destroyers Obi-Wan and Qui-Gonn faced off against in The Phantom menace.

Exactly my point: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHLvPp7AsXo
Just because it is shown *once* as a ball, a truly efficient design can switch forms. And why not?
Roll really fast on appropriate surfaces, walk on others. Exactly what you say R2D2 can do... which I don't see R2 being able to do particularily well, frankly.

(BTW: I LOVE your Rammstein logo. Been to six concerts so far ;) )

"Point: R2-D2, for being able to simply walk into Mordor."
Okay, that get's you all the points, winning the Internet today! :D :D :D

I am a little confused. Does this new droid have to be as good as Artoo? And how can we say it's impractical if we don't know what its purpose is (unless we do somehow)? And even assuming answers to those, I would assume that with this being a science-fictitious universe, that these kinds of setbacks are addressed in the droid's design. Kind of like the mojo that lets droidekas roll over any and all terrain. Well, at least in Battlefront. :P

Wait, is the soccer football droid even supposed to have the same function as R2-D2? Maybe he's just a toy-droid, or a suicide bomber-droid.

So, eh.... we're all aware that this is a movie, right?

Great fun reading the article, but, well, this movie will ultimately be about space wizards and laser swords.
I think making Star Wars hard sci fi would suck all the fun out of it.

Although now I'm a little disappointed that BB8 needs tracks to run, but for a movie prop, that's still a great achievement.

The poster before me made a good point- how do we know BB is an Astromech like R2-D2?

Maybe he's built for something very different, but from the same manufacturing house.

Do you want it to be able to break suddenly? Better have traction.

I'm sure it will break just fine, whether you're talking about dancing or falling to pieces. Braking, on the other hand, might be a problem. FWIW, I assumed it was made out of synthetic leather, which would give it decent traction.

Three fun facts:

1. This was actually the original intended design for R2-D2.

image

2. The ball is actually a series of wedges that serve as compartments that contain things like a retractable hand and a laser/taser. This may significantly harm all three points that were made for this article that assumed this robot had no sort of transforming ability that would assist with other tasks. This could greatly alter things if the need for traction arises and particularly if the bot gets stuck. The actual model has tracks that it uses to move but the movie may have removed those.

image

http://makingstarwars.net/2014/10/concepts-star-wars-episode-viis-new-droid-sidekick/

3. The ball uses gyroscope technology to keep the head level. This can also serve as a breaking mechanism. Have you not seen the stopping power of these kinds of remote controlled balls? They can stop rapidly and even swim:

We actually have this sort of toy in real life. The gyroscope makes a huge difference in stopping power and weight distribution.

It was easy for R2-D2 to brake suddenly because he didn't move fast to begin with. But if he ever lost his balance, and he was certainly clumsy and top heavy, then it would take some time to recover. If BB-8 was traveling as slowly as R2-D2 then it should be able to stop rapidly. Stumbling and losing balance isn't an issue with a gyroscope. At higher speeds it may take longer to stop but at least it can go that fast. But thanks to the gyroscope it should be able to lean the head away from the direction, shift it's weight the other direction and even roll in the opposite direction. So it shouldn't be that bad, especially if it can open its compartments for better traction should the need arise. Additionally, R2-D2 had to shuffle to turn around easily. This ball can go in any direction it pleases.

OP: Great article ("walk in to Mordor", I nearly choked on my tea)

Lightknight's couterpoint was even better though :) Thanks for posting that!! Hah, it's awesome that the movie is using modern effects and tech to get CLOSER to what the original intended to do. The compartimentalisation is such a fantastic idea; when I first saw BB8, I thought 'huh, fun but gimmicky, wtf is that thing supposed to even be able to do', but now I can see it actually be functional and useful. And still fun.

The article is argued fine, but it's a dumb looking robot either way. Even if it was practical, I'd just as soon it not be around.

Boba Frag:

Although now I'm a little disappointed that BB8 needs tracks to run, but for a movie prop, that's still a great achievement.

We have no idea for the reason for the track, just that it was nessesary fopr some reason. While easy on control and optimum performance is likely part of it, keeping the damn thing looking shiney for the movie is likely involved.

Petromir:

Boba Frag:

Although now I'm a little disappointed that BB8 needs tracks to run, but for a movie prop, that's still a great achievement.

We have no idea for the reason for the track, just that it was nessesary fopr some reason. While easy on control and optimum performance is likely part of it, keeping the damn thing looking shiney for the movie is likely involved.

It seems like the tracks or grooves may be on the body, not on the set. But only one source I've seen has distinguished that as being on the body.

It still looks like a damn football to me. A small droid on a football. Could've been a great ad for the next big soccer event, but I just found it rather silly given that it was a teaser for an actual Star Wars movie. I'd pick Artoo over that anyday.

Both the author and the rest of you have seem to forgotten that the purpose of a droid is not merely to transport itself. It is to fulfill tasks. The R2 units were designed from the ground up to be service droids for Star ships. Now if you look at R2 it is obviously a better design when it comes to this task. Height does have it's advantages when performing maintenance. His body is full of tools to perform the work. Form follows function. C-3PO is a Protocol Droid so he looks vaguely humanoid. The Gonk Droid is a walking Fusion Reactor, so it small squat and heavly shielded. The little Mouse Droids on the Death Star were Couriers, small, and fast.

What purpose does BB-8 serve in the SW universe? Based on it's small size it could be some sort of minor maintenance bot, data courier or perhaps a child's companion. We don't know yet what it was designed for. Well we know what role it was designed for in the trailer, it was to get people to go "Oh how cute" or "Neat"

The level Sci-Fi depth that Star Wars has is so deep that they can literally just make anything up.

1. What's rubber? Why would they have a substance derived from an Earth tree in a galaxy far far away? that droid is made of rollo-plast! The best material to make a spherical rolling droid out of. It has super-friction!

2. Rollo-plast creates so much friction in most situations that the ball has to be at least that large to be functional.

3. The droid is equipped with a repulsor-lift system for just this reason.

Arguing "realities" with Star Wars is rather pointless, because many parts of established Star Wars canon are either not possible with current technology or not possible at all. It's better to argue why it looks stupid, because after all, that's what it's all about. I mean, a stationary head with a rolling ball body? Man does that look stupid and pointless.

I'm not sure it's even supposed to roll in the same way as a wheel would. It looks more to me as though its centre of gravity is fairly high up in its body and it moves by shifting an internal mass in the direction it wants to travel, causing to the body to tumble over in that direction. By continually keeping that mass just slightly off-balance in the direction of travel it could continue rolling in a kind of ongoing controlled fall. Such a method of locomotion would not require traction with the surface at all, and would not get bogged or stuck unless the bottom of the droid was buried to a depth considerably greater than it would take to bog a wheel.
I'm also assuming the head isn't attached conventionally, but is a mechanically separate part held in place magnetically with wireless communication with the body's internals.

infohippie:
I'm not sure it's even supposed to roll in the same way as a wheel would. It looks more to me as though its centre of gravity is fairly high up in its body and it moves by shifting an internal mass in the direction it wants to travel, causing to the body to tumble over in that direction. By continually keeping that mass just slightly off-balance in the direction of travel it could continue rolling in a kind of ongoing controlled fall. Such a method of locomotion would not require traction with the surface at all, and would not get bogged or stuck unless the bottom of the droid was buried to a depth considerably greater than it would take to bog a wheel.
I'm also assuming the head isn't attached conventionally, but is a mechanically separate part held in place magnetically with wireless communication with the body's internals.

That type of locomotion would only work over flat surfaces and it would take a much shallower depth to bog it down than a decent wheel. But Star Wars has always been more fantasy than science so its not like it really matters.

So we're judging a droid from a teaser (Those things that are designed not to reveal much of anything) against another droid who has six whole movies, TV shows and other now non-canon material under his belt?

None of the technology in Star Wars makes sense and it seems to get crumbled the furth into the future you get. So who cares?

Rhykker:
3 Reasons Soccer Ball Droid BB-8 Is an Inferior Design to R2-D2

This highlights how impractical Star Wars: The Force Awakens's soccer ball droid BB-8 is.

Read Full Article

You're arguing droid practicality in a world where repulsorlifts exist so your traction points can easily be negated since we don't know what the entire design functions of BB-8 is yet. XD

Major_Tom:
Wait, is the soccer football droid even supposed to have the same function as R2-D2? Maybe he's just a toy-droid, or a suicide bomber-droid.

Exactly
R2D2 was maintenance droid (we saw movies and know intended function)
We don't know what that thing really was
Unless we have some time travelers here (like the ones that apparently are common on threads about "Hatred") we must wait for movie and THEN make definitive statements.

Really? REALLY? We've seen one teaser with not even three seconds of this little robot and you're already writing articles deconstructing his construction? REALLY?

God damnit.

I feel the need to pick a nit. While you're correct that the reason off-roaders let air out of their tires is so that they don't sink into the mud (as well as reducing the likelihood of a puncture while traversing sharp rocks), the contention that increasing the surface area of contact makes no appreciable difference to friction only applies to perfectly rigid surfaces. Car tires are made out of rubber which deforms around imperfections in the road surface, and increasing the size of the contact patch can make a measurable difference in the amount of traction available. This is why you see rear-drive sports cars, race cars and dragsters with stupid-wide tires on the back. Of course those same tires are more likely to aquaplane when it rains so it's a double-edged sword.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here