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Top Toy: The Camera-Equipped, iPhone-Controlled Helicopter

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The AR.Drone, a WiFi-ready, 21st century spin on RC helicopters, allows amateur pilots to use their iPhone to control altitude and direction — you just tap or tilt the device. Even cooler, two built-in video cameras (one forward-facing, one downward-mounted) provide real-time views as you barnstorm the backyard or spy on your better half. (The vehicle, which hovers on four rotors, works both indoors and out. You can also download apps that superimpose graphics over your video feeds, so you can engage in virtual dogfights.) Equal parts real-world flight simulation, roving cameraman and mod-friendly tinker toy, thousands of DIY types from Brazil to Japan are already customizing the units and sharing videos of aerial exploits. Plus, the device can stand a surprising amount of punishment from crashes, pissed-off pets and bemused significant others, a blessing for hand-eye coordination-deprived deadeyes hoping to earn their wings.

$299.99, AR.Drone

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