amazing to see what’s come about and what’s on
the horizon. Moore’s Law is definitely at work in
the R/C world. As electronics get smaller, faster,
cheaper, better, we’re about to see the explosion
of ultra-micro flying machines (think: flying
If you consider what we’ve seen in the last year
and a half, with the introduction of ParkZone planes
Some applications for ioBridge products include:
» Solar hot water monitoring (
(that can fly in a small outdoor area) and Horizon
Hobby’s Bind-N-Fly technology (where the plane
is “bound” to a specific digital spread-spectrum
radio transmitter), the next 18 months is going to
be insanely cheap, small, stable, and exciting.
Eric Edwards built a system for monitoring his
home’s solar-powered water heating system from
his mobile phone.
Jason Winters, CEO, ioBridge (
makers of modules for net-controlling devices
» LaserPup (
laserpup.com) Joe’s dog Skyler liked
playing the laser pointer chasing game and Joe
wanted to interact with Skyler while he was away from
home. So he built a device with servos and a laser
ties it all together, and he’s able to play laser chase
with Skyler, over his iPhone, from virtually anywhere.
» RFID Phone Dialer (
phone) Stephen Myers realized that the elderly
have difficulty with the small buttons and menus
of modern phones. So he created an automatic
phone dialer, triggered by RFID tags attached to
pictures. Move the picture of the person you want
to call past the device, and ioBridge directs Google
Voice to place the call.
The concept of “remote control” has changed greatly
since I was a kid in the 80s. Back then, a remote was
limited to changing channels on a TV, or steering a
toy car or plane. In both cases, range was limited
and the remote itself was specifically designed for
each application. Today, by using the internet to
send control signals, range is no longer limited by
transmission power. Any location with a net connection can be a potential command point. Likewise, a
web browser can replace a physical remote control
and offer unlimited flexibility. With its portability and
net access, the smartphone is the remote control
of the future.
Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired and
creator of DIY Drones (
The main R/C technologies that interest us are
better ways to bridge the R/C and computer
worlds. As much as we love what the digital revolution has done for R/C gear, with collision-free
spread-spectrum and programmable radios, at the
end of the day, it’s still analog-in (fingers on sticks)
and analog-out (pulse-width modulation [PWM]
signals to servomotors).
Right now, it’s hard to beat the decades of innovation that have gone into modern R/C, which is both
Photography courtesy of Traxxas (B) and by I-Wei Huang (C)
Fig. B: The popular Traxxas Summit crawler,
complete with headlights for night driving.
Fig. C: The amazingly small E-flite Blade mSR
“ultra-micro” helicopter. Next stop: R/C flyers
the size of butterflies.
Akihide Hirata, Starfleet Yokosuka Dry Docks
hm-arts.com/starfleet_ydd), a leading light
in the Japanese aqua modelers scene
I believe that the underwater environment is the
place where everyone can experience something
similar to piloting a ship through space. The underwater world has granted me my dream of flying
spaceships, and I believe that the “final frontier”
(or at least the next one) for R/C is underwater.
76 Make: Volume 22