As excellent as the 501st Legion Experience room is, the Droid Builders room always gives it a run. Along with several dioramas for photo ops, the Droid Builders were showing off a variety of astromech droids along with the very popular BB-8. When we went through the room on Sunday a lot of the droids present were versions of R2-D2, but there were all makes of droids around the show, entertaining the fans with music and dancing or just showing up for photos. We also saw them lined up for a journey through the convention center on Saturday night.
Droid building has come a long way since fans started creating them. Years ago we saw a lot of astromech bodies made of wood and that’s transitioned to aluminum and even plastic. There was a BB-8 in the Droid Builders room that was 3D printed, technology that’s only become more accessible in the last 5 or so years. Droids are still controlled by handheld RC controllers but some builders have transitioned to apps that run on phones and tablets. Features that used to require a built-in computer or even a hacked game console can now be built on Arduino and Raspberry Pi platforms. It will be interesting to see in the future what the builders are able to incorporate into their droids.