Heck yeah.

Before I get to that sweet little ‘bot pictured above, I need to clear something up.  I (and the folks at Wild Planet, apparently) continue to receive questions from people regarding the availability of those replacement headsets I wrote about in this previous post.  Unfortunately, they are most certainly not available anymore.  In fact, they sold out pretty soon after that post hit the ‘net, and they’re doubly unavailable now because they’ve discontinued that toy entirely.  If you still really want one, check out the comments by the kindly Mr. Bobby Edwards here and here.  He’s got some similar devices for sale, as well as some related pieces of awesomeness.

Now that that’s all taken care of, kindly proceed past the “more” link below to hear about something truly exciting!

The original HMD-having Spy Video Car and its successor the Spy Video ATV-360 are no more.  So what, you undoubtedly wonder, will follow in their tread-marks? That, my friends, would be the Spy Video TRAKR.

Simple cosmetic re-design?  Guess again!

As you can read in Wild Planet’s press release, this thing is no mere video-enabled RC car: it is a full-on robot.  To quote said document, “…it digitally transmits color video, audio and data and allows users to create, download and share custom programs.”  Yeah, so, Spy Video Car+LEGO Mindstorms with a twist of MB’s Big Trak (a toy I wanted more than anything throughout most of my childhood, by the way).  Heck yes.  Unlike the Big Trak, however, it sounds like the TRAKR is going to be able to run “real” programs–as in, it can react to inputs and run subroutines and the like, not just blindly follow a sequence of directions.  Again from the press release:

“If they’ve installed a motion alarm app, they can park the vehicle in front of a doorway and convert the camera into a sensor that will trigger a siren when someone enters the room. If they’ve created and downloaded a custom app, the vehicle can snap a picture of the person who crosses the threshold, call out ‘You’re busted little brother, I’ve got a picture of you sneaking into my room,’ then squeal its tires and automatically navigate its way back to the driver.”

Drooling yet?  Now this little guy won’t be available until October, so I highly recommend getting on the waiting list here so you don’t forget.

Now, the really cool part:

I get to review one for you guys in May! While most companies seem to be rather un-fond of folks tearing apart, modifying, and re-purposing their products, the amazing people at Wild Planet appear to realize that encouraging such behavior can benefit everyone.  This means that they’ve taken a bit of a shine to this blog which, in turn, means that in late May-early June they’ll be shipping a pre-release TRAKR to me so I can write about it with a decidedly maker-oriented bias 🙂  Being a pre-release and all, I’m not sure just how “invasive” I’ll be permitted to be and how much nitty-gritty tech stuff I’ll be allowed to publish, but I assure you I’ll do my best to share as much hackery info as possible–so stay tuned!

So, to sum up:

1) Wild Planet’s supply of HMDs is long gone.

2) I’ll be reviewing the Spy Video TRAKR in a few months, but you should get on the waiting list now.

Thank you!

PS: Please don’t take my giddy,  pro-Wild Planet language the wrong way.  Even when free robots are involved, I assure you I would not sink to sycophancy.  My liking of Wild Planet’s toys is pure and unbiased, as will be my review.  If the toy sucks, I’ll tell you.  I’ll be shocked and dismayed, but I’ll tell you 🙂

Published in: on March 26, 2010 at 1:12 pm  Comments (11)  

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11 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Will you tell us if a new hmd-only pack is available?

    • I would tell you, but as you might see in the press photos above, there is no HMD for this unit–it is all contained in the remote. I don’t know if the remotes will be available separately, but I’ll keep you all posted.

  2. Did they mention which year that late May-early June would be in?

    • Oh yeah, it’s this year. Unfortunately there’s a confidentiality thing in place, so I can’t really talk about it yet. I will give it an in-depth review as soon as possible though, so stay tuned!

      • > Unfortunately there’s a confidentiality thing in place, so I can’t really talk about it yet.

        I thik your just having to much fun playing with it to write a blog post. 😛

      • SpyTrakr out Early! and Hackaday has their hands on one. (w/o NDA)

  3. So Ive been playing with my Trakr for a while and one of the buttons doesn’t work. Plus i am the worst beta tester ever.

  4. Howdy Jake,

    check out the internals for the TRAKR on hackaday.com. In the TRAKR remote, there is a pad labelled TV Out. For those of us lucky enough to own the ATV 360/spy video car HMDs, see if you can figure out a way to connect an HMD to the TRAKR’s remote. Also, a way of adding a motor to raise and lower the TRAKR’s camera would be an awesome improvement too.

  5. High Five! Isn’t it great when somebody appreciates your work with the time and effort you put into it? I appreciate yours, wonderful read, have a great day!

  6. Hi Jake, a friend has one of the original HMD
    He picked up a goodwill I believe. I seen it in his stash of electronics of yesteryear and asked him about it. He had know idea what it was or did. But I just had to find out after hours of searching with nothing but the name Spy Gear with no luck I had to crack the case. Finding the word car on the board helped me to find your article. Which is AWESOME by the way. I’m just a little unclear as to exactly what resister to remove for video feed. And since the biggest thing I’ve ever done is change out a TV capacitor. I was wondering if I would be able to receive video from a 2.4GHz wireless camera on that HMD unit? Thanks keep up the good work. PS yes I realize l’m way behind the times. I’m just fullfilling interests of my youth. Never to old to learn. Thank you for what you do.

    The first step to True wisdom is acknowledging you know nothing at all.

  7. […] $25 HMD UPDATE! […]

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