A new remote control toy car can steer itself with help from an extremely unusual pilot—a hopping-mad cricket. The Mattel Bug Racer, priced at $35 at your local Toys R Us, serves a dual role: as a remote control vehicle and as a bug cage. And yes, it's powered by "ele-cricket-ry."
Armed with an unforgettable catchphrase ("crickets are the ticket!"), owners of the Bug Racer are expected to find their own crickets to supply the car the horsepower needed to make it run (as well as your run-of-the-mill set of four AA batteries). The toy car contains a removable, clear plastic bug terrarium, and turns on when the habitat component is inserted into the racer and the cricket begins to jump. Motion sensors placed within the cockpit determine which direction the car will go—if the cricket jumps to the left, the car will go left, and when the cricket hops to the right ... well, you get the picture. The car automatically reverses when it bumps into an object. The Bug Racer also has an autodrive mode which can take the control away from the cricket driver.
As for the comfort level of the terrarium insert? It contains a cozy three sections for daily cricket living: a feeding area, a living area, and the aforementioned cockpit, all so the cricket pet keepers can have the additional educational bonus of studying the life cycle of the jumpy insect.
For racers who don't have the wherewithal to catch a cricket in the first place, users can also switch the RC over to a driving mode that can let the car roar around sans bug.
Check out the Bug Racer in action in the video below.