Unboxing the Parrot AR Drone

October 26, 2010

We love unboxing gadgets! …and the AR Drone from Parrot is GREAT fun. The Drone is controlled via an iPhone app which works by tilting your phone to steer whilst viewing a live video feed through a camera mounted in the Drone. It’s a truly usable Augmented Reality device.

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How to buy in Australia: We ordered it from Amazon.com. It took 3 days to be delivered to Sydney from the US and cost just under $350.00 AUD including delivery.

So here it is the unboxing through to a test flight…

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Amazon delivers it in a HUGE box…

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Slightly smaller, but still big box inside…

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The Drone is neatly packed surrounded by protective cardboard.

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No unwrapping necessary. It pops straight out. Nothing to assamble.

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Battery, battery pack and stickers for the external shell.

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It comes with the outdoor shell, and adaptors for Au, UK, US, EU.

Below: Unboxed looking at home in the studio…

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Below: @bradyohalloran takes an instagram photo of the AR Drone:

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Below: Flight Test: This a video taken from the Drone’s camera in the studio.

Below: We do like the idea of attaching a GoPro camera to the Drone to attain HD video – here’s a nice clip of someone flying the drone pretty high… (you can unlock the altitude sensor in the iphone app allowing you to go up as hi as the wifi lets you).

Below: The Promo Vid for the AR Drone.

Things you should know before you buy:

You get one battery that lasts for about 15 mins flying time.
Charger comes with four adaptors incl AUS, UK, US, EU.
You need an iphone or ipod touch to control it.
You don’t need a wifi network (the Drone creates one).
It takes about 5-10 mins to get to grips with the controls.
You need a seperate app to record video.
Onboard Video is 15fps
There is a secondary camera on the bottom of the Drone.
You need 2 of them to have a virtual dogfight.
It’s much bigger than it looks.
It’s a lot of fun.


Top 10 Coolest Gadgets on Ebay for under $10

December 20, 2008

Earlier this year I set myself a mini project – find ten cool gadgets for under $10* on Ebay. I tried to keep postage included in the cost but allowed a couple of items to sneak over, simply because I had saved money on a few others.

The good news is that I found ten kind of cool gadgets. Instead of posting to this blog I’ve waited a few months to see if any of these were any good- ie whether I actually used them or if any of them broke.

Here is the top 10, starting with the worst. Number one is a cracker – in fact it was so good that someone stole it :(((

* ($10 Aussie = $6.80 USD | £4.50 UK | €4.90 Euros )

THE TOP 10:

10: USB Vacuum cleaner (find them here on ebay)

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Average price: AU$8.00 including postage
Gadget Wow Factor: 6/10
Quality: 1/10
Real world usefulness: 3/10

This would have been a zero except for the fact that it has an LED light on it which came in handy a couple of times when I was trying to peer into dark places inside the computer. This thing has no suction. Whilst I really liked the idea because computers and keyboards attract dust like a flies to a poop, this USB vacuum is absolutely crap.
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9. Weather Station (find on ebay

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Average price: AU$7.00 +$5 postage
Gadget Wow Factor: 2/10
Quality: 6/10
Real world usefulness: 4/10

It does what it says, temperature, time, date, humidity blah blah blah. But it’s pretty boring really. It was also slightly over $10 with postage.
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8. Voice disguise for mobile phone (find here)

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Average price: AU$10.00 +$2 postage
Gadget Wow Factor: 6/10
Quality: 5/10
Real world usefulness: 2/10

Total gimmick, that’s about it. I have very little need to disguise my voice or sound like a female. Given that my mobile phone sends the number to callers anyway, it’s not like I can get away with anything anyway!____________________________________________________

7. Laptop (or child) Theft Detector
(find here)

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Average price: AU$10.00 +$5 postage
Gadget Wow Factor: 8/10
Quality: 3/10
Real world usefulness: 2/10

I was actually excited about ordering this. I have a couple of small kids who always run off so the idea of a proximity alarm going off if the two things get separated by more than 30ft is kind of cool.

Here’s the problem. It goes off randomly on occasion. The transmitter batteries don’t last very long. You have to constantly turn both ends on and off. I like the idea – but again this gadget fails to deliver as I’d like.
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6. Tiny Wireless Mouse  (find here)

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Average price: AU$6.00 +$5 postage
Gadget Wow Factor: 4/10
Quality: 2/10
Real world usefulness: 9/10

This thing “was” great. The usb adapter slots away really well. I was using this a lot. But then it broke after 3 months. Maybe I was just unlucky? Shame.
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5. Worlds Smallest Universal Remote Control (find here)

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Average price: AU$7.00 including postage
Gadget Wow Factor: 6/10
Quality: 7/10
Real world usefulness: 6/10

I think this would be useful for some people. It’s small enough to go on your keychain. The only real downside is configuring it. It’s a pain in the neck. Always fun for hanging out the local TV shop and turning their TVs on and off!

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4. Roll-up Flexible Waterproof Keyboard (find here)

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Best price: AU$6.00 including postage
Gadget Wow Factor: 6/10
Quality: 6/10
Real world usefulness: 6/10

Six bucks (including postage) is a bargain. That’s a big reason it made number four. I actually found it useful a few times when the kids were playing on the computer. No fear of them spelling some sticky gloop on it. Ok they keys are not fantastic, but you can feel a press easily enough, plus it’s very lightweight. It’s also a handy
spare if something goes wrong with your main keyboard.
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3. Alcohol Breath Tester (find here)

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Best price: AU$7.00 including postage
Gadget Wow Factor: 8/10
Quality: 6/10
Real world usefulness: 6/10

I believe the best policy is not to drink anything at all (if you’re planning to drive) but of course you do find yourself in situations where you might want to test the person who’s about to drive you to see if they are safe! We found this device kind of fun when we were staying at home after a couple of beers – just testing each other to see who was over. How accurate is it? Well the detector is primitive (green yellow or red) so it seems pretty basic, but three beers in an hour and it went straight to RED every time. My advice, it’s a novelty not a tool – but still worth $7 bucks. Yes, it even has a an LED light on it.
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2. LED Laser Torch (here on ebay) or (here)

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Ave price: AU$9.99 +$5 postage
Gadget Wow Factor: 7/10
Quality: 9/10
Real world usefulness: 9/10

OK – I used this so much that I lost it. The one above isn’t quite the same but I did manage to get something very similar for under $10 including delivery off Ebay. The batteries last for ages, there are multiple settings and the laser is, well a good toy for making cats and dogs chase around the little red dot. A bargain gadget.
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1. Electric Shock Laser Key Ring (here) or (here ebay)

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Ave price: AU$6.00 including postage
Gadget Wow Factor: 8/10
Quality: 9/10
Real world usefulness: 9/10

The winner! We had so much fun with this that is, until someone stole it. Basically if you press the wrong button, instead of getting the laser you get a pretty huge electric shock. So provided you’re not playing this prank on someone with a pacemaker, this thing is a hoot for $6 incl postage. They don’t always show up on Ebay so I included another link above.

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Got any ideas or great finds for Gadgets under $10 – let me know:
www.twitter.com/eunmac or leave a comment below. 🙂


“Barack-Rolling”.. and the Google Elections Video Gadget

August 13, 2008

Most of you internet pranksters (and victims) out there will be familiar with the bait-and-switch concept of “Rick-Rolling“.

Hugh Atkin, a Sydney local, has posted on his blog – an appropriation of this concept, using footage from Barack Obama’s U.S. Presidential Campaign.

The result is the “Barack-Roll”:

Video’s like this are popping up around the place, making use of Google’s new “Elections Video Search” gadget.

The gadget makes use of speech-to-text technology and allows you to search for a word or sentence – and if one of the featured Politicians has said those words in one of the countless videos on file – it lists them for you and highlights at what point in the video the relevant text is spoken.

Google Elections Video Gadget

Whilst the speech-to-text technology for the gadget is by no means perfect, it definitely does the trick for sourcing the goods for little meme’s like this one.