If there’s one thing kids like to fancy themselves, it’s underwater explorers. They don’t spend half the day at the pool diving for coins because they want to buy a soda. No, diving to the bottom is an adventure, even if those 20,000 leagues is really only a few feet. Eventually, though, every kid gets waterlogged. And that’s when it’s time to call in a remote-controlled submersible. Drones might be the popular R/C vehicle of the day, but there’s still something to be said about barrel-rolling a toy submarine to the bottom of a lake while watching fish swim by on its underwater camera. To that end, here are five remote-controlled underwater toys ⏤ from a $20 plastic sub to a $600 bionic fish that swims autonomously and shoots video ⏤ to help channel your kids’ (and your) inner-Cousteau.
Rover Land & Sea
The beauty of this amphibious vehicle is that it’s not limited to the pool ⏤ you can drive it right out of the water and around the yard, too. Also, it’s got a built-in camera that rotates 90-degrees and shoots HD underwater footage. While technically not a full submersible (it rides on top of the water rather than on pool floor) the Rover is controlled using a tablet/smartphone and app (both iOS and Android) and has a range of 150 feet. So said tablet never risks getting wet. It rocks headlights, underwater LEDs, and two speeds.
SZJJX RC Submarine
For the record, this finned submersible is not big. It measures only four inches and fits in the palm of your hand. But who cares? All the better for it to explore the bath tub on a rainy day. And explore it can. The remote controlled toy rocks twin propellers for forward and reverse movement, a streamlined aerodynamic design, and can dive to the bottom of the pool’s shallow section, assuming that’s no more than three feet deep.
Biki Robotic Fish
Billed as the world’s first bionic fish, Biki is less R/C toy and more full-on swimming drone with a dolphin tail. The smart device controlled cyclops fish hits depths of 196 feet and automatically avoids obstacles. It will also return to base on its own, and bring with it 2.2 hours of 1080 pix video or 5,243 pictures (8 mega-pixel) back from the murky depths. Only thing, it’s not available until September but you can pre-order online.
Silverlit Toys Spy Cam Aqua
The Silverlit looks like the toy version one of the subs they use to discover sunken pirate ships on Discovery Channel specials ⏤ right down to LED spotlights and built-in camera. It takes 1280 x 960-pixel images or 640 x 480 video and has 256MB of internal memory. Video is transferred using the accompanying USB cord. At 4.5-inches, it’s not massive. But it does come with a detachable feeder arm if you want to drive it around a giant fish tank. Which, yeah, you do.
Swim Along Manta Ray
The cool thing about this submergible Manta Ray — other than that won’t sting anybody — is that the remote control is also waterproof (up to three feet) ⏤ so you can control it while swimming underwater. The Manta can dive to depths of up to eight feet and uses thrusters to glide, barrel roll, and perform underwater loops. It glows phosphorescent thanks to three LEDs and the battery gets about 30 minutes on a single charge.