In developing the Rover Wireless Spy Tank, Brookstone engineers and designers were determined to make it better than anything else out there in the remote-control market. “My goal was to create something Brookstone-savvy, very robotic, but with a personality,” said Brookstone product designer Christophe P. “We saw other RC vehicles, and knew ours had to be more stylish, more modern—and definitely be app-controlled. It had to stream video, and we wanted to control it using iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch® devices. After all, who wants to use a boring remote control when you can use your phone?”
If Martians had sports cars
“My true passion is cars,” said Christophe, who spent countless hours refining Rover’s aerodynamic shape, getting the proportions properly balanced, and making sure the body material had just the perfect amount of sheen. “It’s sportscar-like, but I wanted to give it a futuristic edge.” Christophe explains. “I’m thrilled everyone is so happy with its look. To be able to integrate automotive design elements into an alien spy tank was just a fantastic opportunity for me.”
Follow the arrows… or grab the wheel
Once the free app is downloaded to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, there are two ways to drive Rover around: using standard arrows (like an RC car) or G-Drive, which uses the accelerometer in your device to let you use it like a steering wheel. “I’d say people are about 50-50 when it comes to using arrows versus the G-Drive. I think more, um, mature users go for the arrows, because it’s like an old video game, and people who grew up with iPod touch, with its built-in accelerometer, are more likely to steer Rover that way. I’m not saying which method I like to use.”
Rover has moves… and eyes
Christophe and team knew they wanted to have Rover generate its own Wi-Fi signal, so it could send video back to the driver. This lets Rover be driven out of site from the operator, and gives people a cool low-angle view of their surroundings. Rover’s built-in camera can also capture digital still photos (ideal for catching family cupcake thieves in the act). What’s more, Rover has infrared night-vision so it (and the driver) can see what’s going on in completely dark rooms. “That’s everyone’s favorite feature,” said Christophe. “You say spy tank, iPad and all that stuff, and people become interested. You say ’night vision’ and their whole face lights up. They’re hooked.”
See the Rover in action by watching this video.