my girlfriend’s uncle and his girlfriend gave me a very nifty unexpected Christmas gift this year. The Picoo Z is a very mi nature (fits in your hand) remote controlled helicopter! The body is a molded-foam shell around minimalist electronics that do the job just fine. It takes 20 to 30 minutes to charge the on board battery which will yeild about 5 to 10 minutes of flying time.

I must admit that I’m not very good at flying it as of yet – but I’m getting better. I’ve been playing too many computer games where the impulse to release the accelerator and jam the brakes are the solution to most trouble spots. With the helicopter the opposite seems generally needed – dropping into a hazardous area of your home? Gun it and the little thing zips upwards.

It’s not suited for outdoor use – a slight breeze will alter it’s flight path and the sunlight will interfere with it’s infared reciever. I think there was some wisdom to the use of infared instead of radio transmitters – many homes and offices are ripe with radio waves bouncing around. Electronics devices, wireless networks, cellular and cordless phones all would create interferance. Infared is much less likely to recieve crossed signals in such conditions.

They offer three different models (varying in appearance not construction) which allows you to fly three simultanteously since each has it’s own channel. Once I get the hang of getting mine to fly where I want it to go it’d be fun to get some dog fights going.