The week in gadgets: Real Batman suit, Star Wars slug and Phantom 3 drone

13 Apr 2015

The Star Wars space slug jack-in-the-box. Image via Star Wars Celebration/

This week in gadget happenings: a real stab-proof Batman suit is developed, a Star Wars exogorth is put in a jack-in-the-box and DJI drone makers return with the Phantom 3.

Armatus Designs’ real Batman suit

What films like Kick Ass show is that the prevelance of comic book superhero films has spawned a growth of interest in people becoming vigilantes hell-bent on making their towns safe through poorly thought out heroics against people who may or may not have guns.

So step forward 21-year-old Gordon Jackson and the team at Armatus Designs, which has only gone and built a Batman suit that can at least protect wannabe heroes from stabbings.

Aside from the familiar black stylings of Bruce Wayne, the key to the suit’s protection is the Kevlar placed in the chest area of the suit, with added arm protection of a thick, but flexible, layer of Kydex.

Star Wars space slug jack-in-the-box

Star Wars fans who may feel like their kid isn’t terrorised enough can rest easy in the knowledge that there’s now a jack-in-the-box that features none other than the terrifying space slug known officially as the exogorth that almost ate Hans Solo in The Empire Strikes Back.

There’s been much anticipation and build up for The Force Awakens later this year, but in the meantime, those attending Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California between 16-19 April can get their hands on the creepy merchandise.

DJI Phantom 3 drone

DJI, one of the biggest commercial drone producers, has shown off its latest models, the Phantom 3 Professional and Phantom 3 Advanced, which promise to not only improve the hardware and camera that comes with the quadrocopter, but also allow the user to stream what it sees live to YouTube.

According to the BBC, the drone’s ability to operate indoors has also been given a major boost, as its location setting is no longer based off GPS, which allows it to hold its position better.

The more expensive Professional model will set the owner back somewhere in the region of €1,186 (US$1,259), but gives them a 4K quality camera achieving 30 frames per second (fps).

The Advanced costs €940 (US$999) but allows for 1080p video at 60fps; both models are better suited to lower lighting than the previous models.

So what are the limits of its livestreaming abilities? According to DJI, the user can stream video to YouTube at 720p at a distance of 1.6km from the controller, which is rather impressive.

Tangram Smart Rope

In yet another example of tech infiltrating the world of sports and fitness, the tech design company Tangram is attempting to push out its Smart Rope skipping rope that is pretty much the exact same as a skipping rope, except it has one nifty LED addition.

Those using the rope will notice that after every rotation a LED counter will appear in the rope’s rotation thanks to lights embedded within the rope itself.

Of course, as with all fitness tech, the Smart Rope is connected to the user’s smartphone through an app that keeps track of the number of rotations, while also charting the number of calories burned off; it also has social integration so you can show off your score.

Shipping worldwide in September, the rope will set you back a cool US$70 (€66).

Father creates bleeping eggs for blind child

Pretty heart-warming story, this.

A common tradition in the US during Easter is for children to take part in an egg hunt to collect as many Easter eggs hidden around a garden as possible.

For 10-year-old Rachel Hyche, however, this proves all the more difficult because she is blind.

But with the help of her father David, she was able to take part this year with the help of a simple but ingenious creation of a beeping Easter egg that uses a 9V battery that can be switched on and off easily by the parent for their kid.

Since it’s been first developed, however, David has collaborated with those in his line of work, the International Association of Bomb Technicians & Investigators (IABTI), to manufacture and distribute the eggs free of charge to charity organisations across the US.

“She just throws down her cane and takes off,” David said of Rachel’s experiences with the eggs. “It’s all about creating independence for these kids.”

Rachel Hyche with bleeping eggs

Rachel Hyche with her father’s bleeping egg. Image via David Hyche/ABC News

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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic