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Bomb disposal robot with Lego gripper

[Krash] had a lot of fun hacking up his Spy Gear TRAKR; we’re just lucky he was able to move a suspicious Shrek doll before it detonated.

The now discontinued Spy Gear TRAKR serves as the basis for [Krash]‘s build. This tiny remote-controlled toy transmits video back to its remote and makes us very jealous of the awesome toys our nephew has. Thankfully, the engineers behind the TRAKR made it extremely hackable, as proved by Hack A Day’s very own [Phil Burgess].

[Krash] began his build by putting a few male headers in the GPIO pins on the TRAKR’s board. After that, the TRAKR SDK was downloaded. He used a few Snap Circuits to verify his TRAKR software was working, then set off to build a Lego gripper arm. The arm is powered through an H-bridge IC [Krash] found alongside the rest of his Snap Circuits stuff.

Not a bad build for what amounts to a pile of toys. Check out [Krash]‘s video of his bomb disposal bot after the break.

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Spy Video TRAKR: software and first hack

Our initial view of the Spy Video TRAKR “App BUILDR” site had us believing this would be an internet-based code editor and compiler, similar to the mbed microcontroller development tools. Delving deeper into the available resources, we’re not entirely sure that’s an accurate assessment — TRAKR may well permit or even require offline development after all. Regardless of the final plan, in the interim we have sniffed out the early documentation, libraries and standalone C compiler and have beaten it into submission for your entertainment, in order to produce our first TRAKR hack!

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Spy Video TRAKR: the teardown

Last Friday we looked at Wild Planet’s Spy Video TRAKR programmable RC vehicle mostly from an end user perspective. Much of our weekend was spent dismantling and photographing the device’s internal works, and poring over code and documentation, in order to better gauge the TRAKR’s true hackability. Our prior review included some erroneous speculation…we can clarify a number of details now, and forge ahead with entirely new erroneous speculation!

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Spy Video TRAKR: first impressions

At the Bay Area Maker Faire this past May, we had our first glimpse of Wild Planet’s Spy Video TRAKR, a $130 radio-controlled toy with some surprises under the hood.

On the surface, the Spy Video TRAKR — the latest addition to the popular Spy Gear toy line — is an R/C tank with a video camera and night vision, with the added ability to download new “apps” from the internet for extra functions. With a little detective work, one uncovers the TRAKR’s secret double life: it’s also an eminently hackable robotics platform! Prior Spy Gear toys have been popular hack targets, providing inexpensive, mass-produced sources of unusual items such as head-mounted displays. Rather than throw up barriers, Wild Planet has chosen to embrace this secondary market, with plans to release development tools and documentation making it possible to extend the device’s capabilities.

Read on for our image-heavy unboxing and initial impressions.

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