Should someone tell you "Last night, I saw a great white shark swimming through my living room," don't assume that they're crazy. It could be that what they saw was an Air Swimmer. The remote-control toys (which are available as a shark or a clown fish) are able to swim through the air, turning, diving and climbing on command. Now all we need is an RC model penguin, that flies underwater.
The Air Swimmers' bodies are mylar balloons that the user fills with helium, much like the RC blimps and flying saucers already on the market. While those models move using propellers, however, the Air Swimmers actually move through the air by swishing their tails from side to side. The user controls the tail movements using an infrared remote control unit - alternating left-right swishes move the fish straight forward, while more swishes on one side or the other turn them left or right.
When first setting up the Air Swimmers, users insert some included putty into the control pod, located on the underside of each fish. They adjust the amount of putty until its weight is such that the model is neutrally buoyant, neither falling to the floor nor rising to the ceiling. When the fish is flying, a button on the remote causes the pod to slide forward or rearward on an attached plastic track. Moving it forward causes the model to dive, while moving it back causes the model to climb.
Air Swimmers are available online, at a price of $US39.99 each. They require one AAA battery for the pod, and three for the IR controller.
Here's a look at them in action:
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