Nano drones are taking off big time

Everyone seems to want a drone these days, but their sizes, prices and complicated instructions usually prevent most from indulging. CCP’s tiny quadcopter Real Live Tetral, however, is a good compromise. It weighs just 20 grams, is so small it fits into the palm of your hand and it’s reasonably priced at ¥12,980. Best of all, though, it’s simple to use and even has a one-touch button for easy takeoff and landing.

The Real Live Tetral comes with a twin thumbstick controller, which doubles as a case for the drone, and it can also be controlled via a smartphone or tablet. Its 410,000-pixel camera is good enough to take selfies and snapshots and it offers a live feed to your smartphone, which slots into the controller to become a screen, so you can watch where it’s flying. This makes it great for making videos to watch through mobile-phone VR goggles. An atmospheric pressure sensor ensures stable flying and easy hovering, and it can even perform a few tricks, like a loop the loop.

Recharging (via USB to a computer) takes 45 minutes, which gives only three minutes of continuous flight time, but the video clips can be saved as AVI files directly to your smartphone or tablet. For real beginners, it also comes with a propeller guard to ensure it won’t get damaged if you accidentally hit a wall.

The Real Live Tetral is available from most major electronics outlets.


On-the-go music, drink and lighting

When going camping, taking the minimum amount of things with you is usually a priority. That’s something that Hakone-based Root Co., a self-named “mobile-gear” company, kept in mind when designing the Playful Base — a lantern, flashlight, Bluetooth speaker and water bottle, all rolled into one.

Playful Base is about the size of a travel flask and its top part — a clear container that can store up to 350 milliliters of liquid — becomes a lamp when lit up by an LED in the device’s base. Since the light shines through the liquid, the color of the glow will depend on what kind of drink you store in it.

The metallic base is the Bluetooth speaker that, on a full charge, can play continuously for about 10 hours (six hours if the lamp is being used at the same time) and can be used like a flashlight if the clear container is removed.

The entire device is dustproof and waterproof (though it can’t be completely submerged), so that it can be used in the rain or even in the shower, and it costs just ¥10,800.

For anyone wanting to add even more functions to this already multipurpose gadget, an attachable battery pack that can add hours to the speaker time and be used to charge mobile devices is also available for an additional ¥5,400.


Tachikoma home help

Gadget maker Cerevo has taken advantage of the hype surrounding this month’s release of the Hollywood version of “Ghost in the Shell” by producing a 1/8 scale robot model of the original anime’s AI combat-vehicle Tachikoma.

The 1/8 Tachikoma is part of Cerevo’s SR2 (from screen to real world) project of using home-electronics technology to make “real” versions of characters in manga, anime, movies and other entertainment. This is the first “Ghost in the Shell” product and like the character it’s modeled after, it moves on wheels, has fully functional joints and can express itself by raising its legs. It has a camera and both speech recognition and voice synthesis engines, which allow you to talk to it and get responses, plus it’s connected to the internet, so you can synchronize a Google calendar, check the weather and have it search for information.

Like the Tachikoma character, the 1/8 Tachikoma can also “learn” to become smarter. For example, if you show it an apple and it recognizes it, you can tell it that “apples are sweet” and it will not only retain the new information, but also upload it to the cloud so that other connected 1/8 Tachikomas will learn and memorize it.

The 1/8 Tachikoma is currently available for preorder to ship in June for ¥169,992, with a special edition that includes aluminum parts for ¥191,592.


In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.