Machine Design

Backtalk 7/23/2009

The lighter side of motion control
Here are a few cool motion-control gadgets we found online at Hammacher Schlemmer (

The Remote-Controlled Tarantula scurries like the real thing, moving forwards, backwards, and rotating 360°. Its hairy exterior, similar to the urticating hairs on a tarantula’s abdomen, serve as defense mechanisms against predators. The spider’s eight legs move independently and its eyes light up, frightening unsuspecting arachnophobes day or night.

The Beginning Pilot’s Remote Controlled Helicopter maneuvers through doorways and hallways (indoors) and up to a 400-ft range outdoors (in calm conditions). The helicopter uses motors that generate twice the torque of other motors, and its counter-rotating rotors eliminate the destabilizing effects of angular momentum, a condition common to all traditional helicopters. A four-channel transmitter, with proportional throttle and trim settings, lets users precisely control the copter to move up and down, rotate in place left and right, pitch forward and backward, and roll left and right. The durable aluminum rotor shaft is topped by a weighted fly-bar for additional stability, and the rotors may be tuned by adjusting the pushrods — unlike other helicopters that only have a static-rotor configuration. Also included is a training gear set for added stability and blade protection. The copter’s flashing blue light permits day or night flying. It can be flown for up to 12 min before its rechargeable battery requires a 1-hr recharge.

The Open Wheel Race Set from Carrera, the world’s most prestigious slot-car maker, has three loops, two lane changes, a flyover, a high-banked curve, a lane-narrowing chicane, and over 35 ft of challenging track length that tests racers’ skills in high-speed competition. The set comes with a richly detailed Ferrari F2007 and McLaren Mercedes MP4-22, which use a specially designed double-contact brush for secure connection to the track for consistent control during a race. A boost button on each handheld control provides an extra 25% power boost to tackle loops and increase speed on straightaways. Includes an automatic lap counter.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.