Puzzlebox Orbit mind-on: brainwaves and hack-friendly helicopters (video)

Puzzlebox Orbit mindon brainwaves and hackfriendly helicopters video

At large trade shows like CES, we're accustomed to seeing tried and true products receive refreshes -- sometimes major, sometimes minor -- year after year. But here on the Showstoppers floor, we came across the type of gadget that gets us positively giddy: the Puzzlebox Orbit. Originally a Kickstarter-funded project that's just now hitting retail shelves (available for $189), the copter-in-a-cage works with Neurosky's EEG Bluetooth-enabled headset and companion app (compatible with iOS or Android) to help users achieve specific meditative or focused mental states. Hack-happy geeks take note, Puzzlebox encourages your creative tinkering, so it's made the software open source, opening the door to any number of applications. But the primary focus for this is education, as combos of this kind can be used to explain neuroscience to children -- brainwaves and the like.

To get the Orbit's blades whirring, users first need to set a pre-determined goal by adjusting a slider in the app. And once that desired state is achieved, the included IR transmitter (which plugs into your smartphone or tablet), will send a signal to the Orbit, effectively giving it flight. It's not the weak sort of take-off either -- this spherical delight can really grab some air. But don't just take our many words for it. Why not just check out our demo after the break?

Sarah Silbert contributed to this report.