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Slinky Science Bionic Ear

by Slinky

Price: £38.11
Only 1 left in stock.
Dispatched from and sold by thebookcommunity_fba.
  • Listen to conversations or other sounds without being detected from up to 300-feet away
  • Look through the targeting scope and then pull the trigger to amplify sounds
  • Highly sensitive microphone picks up soft whispers and transmits audio through the included headphones
  • Adjustable sensitivity control eliminates unwanted background noises
  • Recommended for children 6-years of age and older
See more product details

Product Information

Technical Details
Item Weight454 g
Product Dimensions26.7 x 11.4 x 30.5 cm
Batteries:1 9V batteries required.
Manufacturer recommended age:8 years and up
Item model number16000
Number of Puzzle Pieces1
Assembly RequiredYes
Batteries Required?Yes
Batteries Included?No
  
Additional Information
ASINB00168TQ28
Best Sellers Rank 922,024 in Toys & Games (See top 100)
Shipping Weight1.4 Kg
Delivery Destinations:Visit the Delivery Destinations Help page to see where this item can be delivered.
Date First Available10 Aug 2010
  
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Product Description

Spies on secret missions won't miss a sound with Bionic Ear. Listen to even the most faint and faraway sounds within a range of up to 300 feet. Bionic Ear includes digital record and playback with headphones, plus background noise reduction that makes your hearing amazingly clear. Requires 9V battery, not included. Ready to wear right out of the box.

Customer Questions & Answers

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon.co.uk.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 48 reviews
121 of 123 people found the following review helpful
The Best Bang for the Buck 26 Sep 2009
By Nature Guy - Published on Amazon.com
Durability:    Educational:    Fun:   
I had been researching various parabolic microphones online for awhile. I noticed the striking similarity in construction and design of this "toy" and the higher-priced ($50-$80) units sold under the Orbitor and Pro-Orbitor models. Well, you guessed right (if you guessed as I did), this <$20 "toy" is the very same device, just marketed to a different audience. The only difference is that instead of having a low-power spotting-scope for aiming, there's just an empty tube in this one. And on opening this one up, I found out that the chip to do the 10-second recording and playback (in the Orbitor models) are missing from the circuit board. That's all fine and well, because if you read the reviews both of those features in the higher-priced models that include them they are fairly useless or badly implemented.

I bought this to "tinker" with it for nature recordings. There have been reviews of the same device under other brand names claiming that directionality is lacking. This is not true. I find that for high-frequency sounds the aiming must be within about 2-5 degrees to the source. People also erroneously mistake the true frequency filter for a "volume" control. It is a variable cut-off filter to adjust how much "bass" you want to listen to. There's good reason for this. If you filter out the low-frequencies (that seem to emanate from everywhere) using the tunable filter you can obtain rather good directionality and clarity on distant voices and sounds.

However, there is a bit of design flaw in this (and I presume all the high-priced Orbitor models), where the microphone pickup is situated. Unfortunately the access ports to allow the sound through the central microphone support column are cut too small. My Dremmel-tool and X-acto blades to the rescue. I enlarge the entry ports to the microphone and was able to greatly increase the amount of sound being focused by the parabolic dish. You can prove this to yourself by momentarily pointing the dish toward the sun and watching where the light is focused equally around the central support. The designers missed the mark on where to cut the access holes to let the sound through. If you're a tinkerer, go ahead and enlarge those ports to let more sound though. As it is designed I doubt more than 20% of the parabolic dish's surface is being put to use. You can increase this to a good 80% or more with careful modification. Just be very careful to not nick or cut the wire leading the the microphone.

If you hunt around on the net you can find this available for under $20 with shipping included. And with a little modification, you'll have a highly directional parabolic microphone that is better than the $50-$80 models (made by the same company, same components, targeted to adult prices).

One more thing, the lower price also means lower-quality headphones. No problem. We all have dozens of higher quality ear-buds laying around from our MP3 players and other things by now. Use a set of those instead. The sound quality and useful gain will vastly improve if you do.

IMPORTANT UPDATE!! -- Since the time I purchased mine, and sometime after 2010, the manufacturer has made a serious design change by placing the internal microphone in a location where it now turns this model into nothing more than a directionless toy. PLEASE READ THE REVIEW By C. Mckim "m100001" and all follow-up comments to see how it is still possible to modify this back into a functional device. Off-the-shelf this is fairly useless as-is, but with some semi-simple modifications you can get some decent service out of it. Definitely a tinker's/crafter's project now.

ALSO: In the comments there has been some confusion on disassembly and this has led people to destroying an important component on the circuit board (a 220k variable resistor). One of the screws you'll have to remove is hidden beneath the shaft for the variable cut-off filter (the LOW <---> HIGH adjustment). This control knob is actually in 2 parts. There's the larger outer diameter portion with the 8 radially placed bumps on it. Then there's a smaller dome-shaped cap with just a single line on it in the center of that dial. The part that needs to be carefully pried-up is that smaller central button with the single line on it. Underneath you'll find a small screw down at the base of a hollow shaft. Hold the larger outer portion of that control-dial stationary while removing/reassembling that screw.
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Can easily be modified for better performance 11 April 2011
By C. Mckim - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase Durability:    Educational:    Fun:   
Think about how a parabolic dish receiver is supposed to work, whether it's for collecting a satellite signal or for sound waves like this one.
The radio or sound waves are collected and focused by the dish which acts like a lens.
The focal point will be above the center of the dish, which where you see the LNB located on every TV satellite dish.
On this product the little tower protruding from the center of the dish is for decoration only, and the microphone is actually located at its base.
If you point the dish at the sun you will see a ring of light focused near the top of the tower, which is where the sound waves will be focused too, and that's where the microphone needs to be.
The toy need to be disassembled, the microphone leads lengthened by about three inches or so and the microphone relocated to the top of the tower.

The improvement is phenomenal and changes a toy into semi-professional tool.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Fun to Use 8 Jan 2009
By J. Reisch - Published on Amazon.com
Durability:    Educational:    Fun:   
I got this for my son who is into "spy toys". This Bionic Ear works really well! You really can spy on conversations from a distance. The toy even picks up soft sounds such as whispers. Be careful on what you talk about when your kid is using this toy!
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Not bad 26 Feb 2009
By Dan Z - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase Durability:    Educational:    Fun:   
Works pretty well for an assembly of cheap plastic pieces. The box says it has a "scope" for pinpoint aiming. This is actually a large hole in the base that you look through, and is totally unnecessary. The unit just isn't directional enough to require careful aiming.

The box also points out the "sensitivity control" for adjusting the "sensitivity/volume." The instruction sheet says this is a frequency control to help eliminate background noises, and that is how it seems to work. There is no volume control. Oddly, turning towards "low" makes it more sensitive to high frequencies, and vise-versa. It is pretty sensitive to wind noise, and has a fair amount of hiss at all times, due I presume to the inexpensive electronics.

Suggestion: use better headphones. The ones supplied do not fit flat to the ears, and are not adjustable for that. They will never fit a child well, seemingly being designed for "fat heads."

I am going to use it for listening to bird sounds.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Not a parabolic microphone. 20 Jun 2012
By cubelodyte - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase Durability:    Educational:    Fun:   
With deference to Nature Guy, who wrote an exceptionally detailed and helpful review nearly 3 years ago, this product appears to have changed significantly since his review. I would use the feedback links to tag his comments as NOT helpful if it were possible to do so without disrupting his good reputation as a reviewer. Although I have no doubt that his observations were entirely accurate at the time of his writing, they are no longer relevant to the product being sold under the name of "Slinky Science Bionic Ear". It is unfortunate that older reviews remain prominent on the product detail page when the newer reviews are now the most pertinent.

At some point in the last several months, the manufacturers of Slinky Science Bionic Ear have concluded that merely attaching a parabolic reflector somewhere in the proximity of a microphone is adequate for a toy; to extend the microphone all the way to the end of the focusing shaft is simply no longer worth the effort. This decision renders the center column superfluous and produces a listening device that is slightly less directional than one might achieve by placing a condenser mic at the bottom of a 32oz. drink cup from the local gas station.

This toy is, in essence, everything it claims to be. One can hardly be disappointed by a moderately priced item marketed in the genre of "spy" toys; a genre which has produced such technological marvels as "Night Vision Goggles" that consist of colored lenses with LEDs positioned on either side of the frames.

In their defense, the phrase "parabolic microphone" never appears in the descriptive content on Amazon's product page. Instead, they simply state that "features include a parabolic sound collecting dish". This is undeniably correct.

A true parabolic microphone, however, does not so much collect sound as reflect it towards a single focal point. For this reflection to be of any value whatsoever, the receiving microphone must be positioned at or near this focal point. By contrast, the Slinky Science Bionic Ear places its receiving microphone at the apex of the reflector. The result is a wide-angled ear trumpet conveniently located at the end of a really cool looking ray-gun.
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