BlinkRC Wi-Fi Receiver
This tiny little circuit board is stuffed to the
brim with components. It allows anyone to
easily swap out a standard R/C receiver and
communicate on a wi-fi network so you can
control your R/C vehicle with your smartphone.
Just plug it in (replace your stock receiver),
download the free app, and you’re off!
For the more adventurous, try creating
an app that takes advantage of the open
messaging protocol and the BlinkRC’s three
output channels and two analog input channels. Now you can control a variety of different
servos and sensors from almost anywhere.
—Marc de Vinck
Spy Video Trakr
Spy Gear offers all kinds of “spy technology” in toy
form — all of which actually work. With Trakr, they’ve
come up with a wonderfully robust toy robot. It’s
remotely operable, with the controller packing a
speaker and screen so you can see and hear what
the robot does, even in a different room. Built-in
night vision, audio AV recording, robot-mounted
speaker, and built-in SD slot add to the options.
You can program and upload apps from any
computer, allowing you to create a complex series
of actions that the robot performs autonomously.
While this programmability intrigues, it’s the robot’s
hackability that will grab your attention. The circuit
board is visible beneath a clear canopy and has a
ton of labeled empty pinouts. Everything is secured
with regular Phillips screws, just begging you to
crack it open. —John Baichtal
I gave myself a splinter for this review.
On purpose. It was that or focus only on
the personal-grooming uses of these clever
folding tweezers. And while the Pocke Tweez
is definitely up to the job of plucking that
hair discovered peeking out of your ear
before the big date, it’s really in splinter
removal that the pointed-tip shape excels.
Although it’s only been on my key ring
for a week, I’m very optimistic about the
design’s pocket-hardiness. There are only
two components: handle and tool, both
cast stainless. The tweezers are machined
to shape, and the handle is bead-blasted.
The one locks into the other, in both folded
and open positions, using a clever integral
slot-detent with no additional parts to
wear out or wander off. And it pulled out
my test-splinter in a jiffy. Good thing, too,
or I’d be typing one-handed.
—Sean Michael Ragan
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