“We knew we had a lot of great technology, but we want to add more story and characterisation around our products. We figured the best people to learn that from would be Disney and all the brands they own,” Mr Bernstein told ABC News.
“We had a meeting with Bob Iger and he tells us about this BB-8 character.
“They had already been shooting the movie for quite some time but we were told they couldn’t bring that character to life at the time … so we’re like ‘we know exactly how to do that, we make ball robots’.”
Mr Bernstein said they “could definitely help with the Sphero technology.”
“We started working on it that night,” he said.
“We had all out parts there and we just started to make it.
“We sent them a video of it driving around. They were crazy excited.
“It’s awesome. It’s a very loveable robot and it’s super cute.”
They had most likely completed the Abu Dhabi shoot by that point. So what is BB-8 in those scenes? CGI? A puppet? A mix of the two? A real robot composited in? I guess we’ll find out eventually, though it’s kind of cool that it isn’t obvious either way.