A Droid in Higher Spheres

Technic functions are supposed to make your creation come to life, especially when they’re motorized. However, they often fail to achieve that goal. Only the best Technic builders with well-engineered mechanisms succeed in eliminating jerky motions of components that rob the action of all realism, reminding you that you’re looking at a scaled down and lifeless toy. But not always. Takamichi Irie surprisingly embraced and even stimulated the shakiness and jerkiness of his motorized BB-8 creation. A stroke of genius that for one time leads to a realistic build that truly comes to life.

The head of his BB-8 is connected to the body with only a single Technic axle, which itself is connected to a thin base. The result is that it wobbles a lot, nicely accentuated by the antenna that enlarges the movement. Consequently the head seems to be constantly adjusting itself, experiencing the roughness of the terrain as it goes along. This is enhanced by slight variation of the rotational speed of the ball, as if to indicate variance in terrain. But that’s only half of the movement involved. The bigger, orchestrated movement of the head is superimposed to put the small stabilizing movements into context so that it really looks as if he’s adjusting his head to look at something instead of it being random noise. I also love how those bigger movements gradually accelerate and decelerate to give them more of an organic feel. It also gives the head a sense of inertia, doing away with the downsized toy effect. The superb combination of well-made deliberate mechanisms and the accentuated imperfections naturally generated by the bricks make this the most lively brick built BB-8 that has ever rolled across my screen: bowler hats off to you, Takamichi Irie and your truly moving photostream!

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