Gadgets That Fly, Take Fish-Eye Photos & Build Prototypes

This Gadget Freak review looks at a variety of gadgets, including a remote-controlled helicopter that folds into its own controller, a 3D panoramic camera, and a personal 3D printer that sells at the (relatively) low cost of $1,300.

Rob Spiegel

December 17, 2013

2 Min Read
Gadgets That Fly, Take Fish-Eye Photos & Build Prototypes

Foldup helicopter
If there's one thing kids like more than toys, it's toys small enough to bring wherever they go. Remote-controlled cars and choppers have gotten remarkably small over the years, but this particularly tiny helicopter from Docooler one ups them all with a clever folding design that lets you store and transport it in its own wireless controller.

Here is the helicopter flying (left) and folded (right).

Its boxy design is certainly unique, but everything else about this remote-controlled helicopter is pretty much standard when it comes to toys like this. The controller gobbles up four AA batteries, which are used to charge the helicopter. After 40 or so minutes of powering up, you can expect about six or eight minutes of flight time. To make sure it's easy enough for anyone to fly, a built-in gyro keeps it stable while you attempt to avoid crashing into every obstacle in a 33-foot radius. But if you do crash, the $25 kit even comes with three extra rotors to get you back in the air as soon as possible.

The fish-eye 360 camera

Here's an example of a 360 photo.

This futuristic device shoots completely spherical images with the push of a button with no alignment errors or stitching or any other stuff. You can stick the camera inside things and shoot a totally spherical image. Shots that were impossible before are now surprisingly easy. The resolution could be higher, but this is definitely a viable version. The price is $400.

3D printing at home
Finally, 3D printing has cracked the size and cost barrier to bring it to your home.

But it's not just restricted to the professionals -- you can get in on the action, too, and that's where the second-gen Cubify Cube 3D printer comes in. It's not cheap, but it undercuts the ultra-expensive devices out there and makes 3D printing at home a reality. Is it any good?

The Cubify Cube is a tiny 3D printer.

The Cube enables you to design a three-dimensional product and send that design's instruction to the printer, either via WiFi from your computer or by plugging in a USB stick. Unlike with a traditional printer, you can't plug in directly to the computer by physical wires -- that's reserved for firmware updates only. The Cube sells for $1,300.

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About the Author(s)

Rob Spiegel

Rob Spiegel serves as a senior editor for Design News. He started with Design News in 2002 as a freelancer and hired on full-time in 2011. He covers automation, manufacturing, 3D printing, robotics, AI, and more.

Prior to Design News, he worked as a senior editor for Electronic News and Ecommerce Business. He has contributed to a wide range of industrial technology publications, including Automation World, Supply Chain Management Review, and Logistics Management. He is the author of six books.

Before covering technology, Rob spent 10 years as publisher and owner of Chile Pepper Magazine, a national consumer food publication.

As well as writing for Design News, Rob also participates in IME shows, webinars, and ebooks.

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