Thursday, 15 December 2016 16:23

Replica R2-D2 helps community Featured

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ORRINGTON - In Star Wars, R2-D2 is known for his dedication to his friends. In a galaxy not so far away, a replica droid is helping local kids.


Paul Bussiere is known as the R2-D2 guy. It took him six years and $10,000 to build a 200 lb replica.


The droid has a computer inside, is programmed with hundreds of songs and sounds and is controlled by an Xbox remote.


"When I press the buttons, he does his thing. I used to have it set up so doors opened and I had a holoprojector in there at one point," says Bussiere.


The droid has also made his way throughout the state.


"R2 and I have been down to the Portland Symphony Orchestra," says Bussiere, "We've been down there twice for their Star Wars performances and we've also participated with the Sea Dogs."


R2-D2 has had a lot of missions and messages to send, but now it's all about bringing a smile to the faces of kids who are in the hospital.


"The Children's Miracle Network did a lot for my godson. He was a real little guy, about 6 years old when he passed away of brain cancer," explains Bussiere, "I got to see from that side of the fence and then I got to do something on this side of the fence, so to speak, where I can be my little nerdy do gooder."


He has also started working on a second R2-D2 and is building a BB8, all using a 3D printer. He gets some of the blueprints from fellow builders.


Some of the bigger pieces take almost 15 hours to print. While some may question why he would spend so much time building, it just takes a trip to the hospital to see R2 in action, with Bussiere saying, "People stand back and they watch reactions back and forth between people and they just kinda look at me and say, I totally get it. I totally get it now."


Paul and his R2-D2 will be at the Bangor Mall Cinema for the opening weekend of 'Rogue One.' R2-D2 will be available for pictures, in exchange for a donation to the Children's Miracle Network.