A Screwdriver For The Lazy

The TS100 soldering iron is a sleek handheld device with a tiny display. Now the same people behind it have introduced a motion-controlled screwdriver, the ES120. While we are fans of large electric screwdrivers for working on large projects, we aren’t sure we need a $90 screwdriver for little fasteners. However, if you watch the video review from [Marco], you’ll see it has an interesting user interface that might be useful in other projects. [Marco] is also a bit of a cut up, so you’ll get to see how well the little tool can froth milk, provide transportation, or change a flat. [Marco] also does a tear down if you want to see what’s inside the beast.

What caught our attention was the user interface. We’ve had precision power screwdrivers before, in particular we’ve used the General Tools 500 which costs about $20 and has a two position switch. One direction causes the bit to rotate clockwise and the other direction rotates the tool counterclockwise. The ES120 by comparison only has a single button.

When you hold the button, you twist the screwdriver as though you were using an ordinary tool. The accelerometer in the ES120 detects this rotation and begins rotating in the same direction. The tool can produce four levels of torque and has an automatic setting, as well.

Even [Marco] admits that the ES120 isn’t going to replace his normal screwdrivers. Perhaps if you were dealing with hundreds of fasteners a day though, it would make sense. Then again, we have lots of tools and toys we really don’t need, so if you just want a new shiny gadget to show off, the ES120 looks well made and appears to function well.

What we’d really like to see is someone hack the ES120 into something cool like a coil winder. Of course, if you are in a hacking mood, you can always build your own cheap power driver. Perhaps, though, the ES120 might make it easier for some people to start their cars.

44 thoughts on “A Screwdriver For The Lazy

    1. I dunno, if you disassemble enough stuff day to day using tiny fasteners this could be pretty worthwhile. You’d need the demand, but there are those who would use it enough to justify the effort.

  1. > The accelerometer in the ES120 detects this rotation
    Nope, it’s an angular rate sensor. These are usually called gyroscopes, though it’s also not entirely correct (gyroscope can be understood as angle sensor as well, so there is a lot of confusion).

      1. I don’t have this screwdriver, but firmware sources include a driver for L3G4200D, which is an angular rate sensor. Using linear acceleration sensor to sense rotations would be impractical.

  2. The Black&Decker Gyro Driver uses the same type of interface. It’s cheaper but more bulky. On the other hand I’m betting it has quite a bit more torque and uses standard bits.

    That said, I am tempted by this one because of the size.

  3. This is like a tiny precision version of the (discontinued?) Black & Decker Gyro driver, which I’ve had for ages and is a surprisingly nice screwdriver. Since it doesn’t have the pistol grip of a large electric drill it’s pretty easy to judge the right amount of torque just from the rotational force on your hand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoLpGxCVzzI

    Looks like a lot of effort went into designing it, the one thing I would do differently is instead of just having a tiny button, I would have a switch in the tip that could activate the gyro sensor simply by pushing it into a screw.

  4. I was expecting him to start destroying things with slingshots and laugh heartily while doing so. You can’t tell me him and JoergSprave aren’t brothers.

    That said, is the motion sensing REALLY necessary??

    1. hmmm… well I found it very funny! You also must consider that this item is about a screwdriver! A very pretty one! The video was entertaining, contained information and had many moments that made me grin, so please don’t make fun of it.

  5. As someone who’s health has suffered a bit over the years, I have ME/CFS, stuff like this can make a difference.
    I find I use electric screwdrivers a lot more these days as it means I can work longer when theres a lot of repetitive driving to be done. It doesnt seem much to screw in a screw but when you have a few to do and have limited energy/strength and after half a dozen your arms start to feel like lead and you get pain, stuff like this doesnt sound so unnecessary.
    Most drivers are quite chunky and hard to use on small stuff a smaller one like this would be really useful to me.
    I think ill have to wait for a major birthday at that price. Though it looks as though its priced well for what you get.

        1. Know what you mean I’m not even 30 yet but, I’ve suffered the same condition for just over half my life now. Clinically knackered is a great description that I shall have to shamelessly steal! (though annoyingly have seen its possible to recover pretty damn fully only to relapse thanks to really nasty cold/flu bug and the stubbornness to not let it stop me doing my exams once). So Don’t give up on getting better – though I know its damn easy to get blue. We can hope the nice little device is still available come a special birthday as an excuse for us, or that we recover so we don’t need it anymore!

    1. dammit, i thought the same thing when i ordered mine a few months ago. payed €50 in sale, bought it at the same time as my TS100, thinking it would be fun to hack. I was going to write some fw for it that plays the Dr Who opening theme on motor but have not gotten around to it .. guess i’ll have to hurry up now ;)

  6. Don’t want ANY battery power tools beyond a flashlight or meter. Hand tools please. They keep on working and working, much longer than the energizer bunny. Have kept hands used to it too.. isn’t a strain.

    Worked with a screwdriver when my friend had a power screwdriver. He could put 4 sheets of drywall up for every one I did. Then his battery died… He threw tools when angry so make that 3 sheets, easier to replace whole sheet than the hole his power screwdriver put in it. I finished 2 more rooms of drywall before it was charged back up. So he bought more batteries. Back in that day they were expensive, my screwdriver a buck two-fifty. My toolbox is just one, and smaller to. His toolboxes and cords take up the whole trunk cause handsaw vs battery circular, hand drill vs batt drill… etc, etc, etc. Most of my tools are antique too. Granpa used them.

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