The Star Wars ™ films have a wealth of design, and a huge fan-base has developed, recreating things out of the works, such as a community of builders of droids, particularly R2-D2; this project has developed from a want to build such. A fan-built droid does not have to be limited to a static display, or radio control, but could serve the basis of an autonomous system.
While the canonical features limit what the robot could look like, it also provides some interesting engineering. Additionally, functions that the robots are capable of, in-universe, can be replicated in a practical manner.
The design and look of the robot is, of course, owned and controlled by Lucasfilm, allowed for non-profit fan replication. The internal electronics are, however, are open to innovative design, and not necessarily dependent on the design.
While some functions, such as sensor monitoring, will be off-loaded to smaller microcontrollers, BeagleBoards offer the opportunity of a high power, low cost, small footprint system to process higher computational problems, such as navigation or vision (such as through OpenCV).
As part of replicating functions, additional problems such as interfacing to an OBD-II interpreter, and orbital mechanics computations can also be done.