Remote control, radio control or rc toys have been popular for decades. Popular styles include cars, trucks, helicopters, and boats. However, in recent years new and unusual styles have emerged to capture hearts of children and adults, for example, dinosaurs, UFO's, trash trucks, and the mythological Bigfoot monster. RC toys allow fans old and young to explore new realms of imagination through flying, floating, hovering, driving or walking their way to adventure.
RC toys are based on simple electrical mechanics made up of four basic components, the power source, motor, transmitter and receiver. The transmitter is the unit held in the hand to control the toy, the transmitter sends out the signal to the receiver. The receiver picks up the signal and delivers it to the toy to control it's movement. The motor moves the wheels, feet, operates propellers and steers the vehicle. The power source, which is a battery or a small gas engine, provides the power to operate the toy. Exceptions to this are rc toys that are blimps and boats and hovercrafts. Blimps are lifted by helium or hot air and the power source moves the propellers. RC boats are powered by the wind and merely the rudders are controlled by the power source. RC hovercrafts are lifted with blown air, the power source controlls the direction of the blowers and therefore the direction of movement.
The first radio controlled toy, was a boat built by Nikola Tesla in 1893. During World War II the use of radio controlled items became more popular, for example the Luftwaffe used winged, controllable bombs to take out Allied ships. Granted these bombs were far from being toys, but their development helped the technology progress.
The next big step was made in 1930 by Bill and Walt Good, the brothers created control unites that were based on valve vacuums. During the 1940s and 1950s more improvements were made in controls for RC toys, moving them from simple on and off systems to systems with relays to parts that controlled direction and speed. The 1960s brought the development of transistor systems which developed into servo-based systems developed by individual hobbyist that soon became integrated into commercial products. In the 1970s advances integrated technology led to the development of multi-channel fully proportional controls.Through the 1990s and 2000s technology has continued to become smaller, lighter, more intricate these changes have allowed for the building of less expensive models so the toys fit in most budgets. Future improvements in the technology will continue to make enthusiasts smile.