If you love freaking out your friends, especially a girlfriend who hates bugs, here's a toy you might dig--Skitterbot is a six-legged robotic insect that can burn rubber at the rate of one foot per second.
Maker Desk Pets claims Skitterbot is the fastest commercially available legged micro-robot. It's controlled and recharged via USB, requiring a 30-minute juicing for 15 minutes of play.
The critter has flashing evil eyes and comes in three colors, as well as transparent. Each has a separate frequency, so multiple players can race and fight each other. They're now on sale at Toys "R" Us and Radio Shack for $19.99.
Skitterbots follow a horde of micro-robot toys including the Hexbug Crab, which can respond to its environment through sensors. Skitterbot lacks sensors, and seems more built for speed than intelligence.
There's something about robots that makes them exponentially scarier the faster they move. When I saw the usually innocuous Asimo showing off its new 1.9 mph jogging skills from 10 feet away, I nearly ran out of Honda's HQ in terror.
Still, I'd love to see a whole floor crawling with Skitterbots. Now, that would shock and awe.