We've seen Japan's magic flying ball before, but this is the demo where the fumbly bumbly spheroid finally won my heart. The device could be used for reconnaissance, search and rescue, or as the world's greatest piñata. Also: it's adorable.
The sphere hovers like a helicopter but because it's designed like a prop-based aircraft, can tilt forward and accelerate quicker than a traditional chopper. With the help of three on-board gyroscopes, the sphere can handle running into objects and being struck without falling to the Earth. Airborne control isn't its only trick. On the ground pilots can roll the sphere to destinations and easily set it back into the sky.
The sphere uses off-the-shelf parts, can be built for $US1,400, and can hit speeds up to 37MPH. At that price, Japan could build thousands of these little wonders and could send one my way in time for my birthday. [ DigiInfo TV via TechCrunch]