What do IIoT and BB-8 have in common?

Jan. 14, 2016

These technological mashups are marveling viewers from the plant to the movie theater.

In a recent article from Control, Paul Studebaker explores the similarities between IIoT and BB-8. Here is an excerpt from the article.

Most folks who see video of Star Wars VII's new droid, BB-8, rolling around with its seemingly independent robot head atop its ball-shaped body assume it's a trick of computer-generated imagery (CGI). How else could its head float above the surface of its body as the sphere rolls across gritty sand dunes, through verdant forests and up metal ramps into sundry amazing spacecraft?

But I heard BB-8 really exists, that people had seen it, it's not just CGI. People suggest that the propmakers essentially put a remote-controlled Segway inside a sphere, like a hamster in a hollow ball. The head is on a set of rollers and stays on the ball with a magnetic coupling to an articulated post (replacing the handlebar on a conventional Segway).

Like BB-8, the IIoT seems futuristic and fantastic, while it's largely just a mashup of existing technologies in an innovative wrapper. But while it breaks little new ground, the areas IIoT does advance are important and potentially amazing: standards for communication across devices and platforms, and use cases that demonstrate ROI.

To learn more about IIoT, read “IIoT is as real and complicated as Star Wars' BB-8 Droid” from Control.

Watch this video to learn how the BB-8 Sphero toy works.

Watch an ingenious fan make his own BB-8.

About the Author

Alexis Gajewski | Senior Content Strategist

Alexis Gajewski has over 15 years of experience in the maintenance, reliability, operations, and manufacturing space. She joined Plant Services in 2008 and works to bring readers the news, insight, and information they need to make the right decisions for their plants. Alexis also authors “The Lighter Side of Manufacturing,” a blog that highlights the fun and innovative advances in the industrial sector. 

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