July 11, 2006 Before the Berlin Wall came down, genuinely useful surveillance gear was difficult to procure. With the sudden defrosting of the Cold War, both sides became very commercial and all sorts of previously classified and very clever equipment became not just procurable, but affordable. Nowadays, much of the gadgetry that Q might have handed to 007 a decade or two ago is available, quite literally, at your local toy shop.
Wild Planet toys have a complete range of spy gear ideal for indulging a techie’s second childhood but we forsee some delicate problems with the company’s latest creation. The Spy Video Car is a completely silent, remote controlled electric car with a video camera AND infrared night vision that transmits wirelessly to a headset worn by the err … perpetrator. It’s ideal for checking out what’s happening up to 25 metres away and although the sticker says it’s suitable for ages 6 and above, we’re a trifle fearful of what sort of X-rated action an inquisitive mind and the Spy Video Car might find themselves exposed to in mum and dad’s bedroom. The toy uses a high quality OmniVision CMOS image sensor and using the infrared video will transmit a very clear image of the action in complete darkness. Check out the video and images inside.
Not surprisingly, the toy was very well received at the International Toy Fair and is expected to be a hot product during the coming holiday season. It will be available online and at major retailers such as Target and Toys "R" Us beginning October 2006 and although the price has not yet been fixed, we’re thinking somewhere between US$100 and US$150.
The car comes with a headset, screen and hand-held controls.