NNYPRS Tech Council: TOD

By Brian Leighton

This past October I attended the 2nd Annual Northern New York Paranormal Expo put together by the City of Plattsburgh and the Northern New York Paranormal Research Society. While there I fell in love with TOD, the adorable Terrestrial Optical Droid new to the NNYPRS. After reading my article about the event, Brian Leighton who has been writing about paranormal research technology for The Magical Buffet, jumped to the obvious conclusion that I would want a whole article devoted to TOD. He was right.

From a box of junk comes our newest team member.

One of the great things about being a geek, I mean head of the NNYPRS Tech Council, is that friends and family give me all kinds of stuff that they don’t need any more. Sometimes what I get is pure junk, but sometimes I hit the jackpot!!! This was the case recently when my brother, preparing for an out of state move, decided to get rid of some of his stuff. I ended up with two big plastic totes of stuff that makes geeks like me drool, among them was an interesting toy.

It’s called SPYKEE and it is a remote controlled robot. We have nicknamed him TOD, it stands for Terrestrial Optical Droid, He is named after a former team member whose sole desire on an investigation was to climb into attics and crawlspaces so that he could get a thrill. TOD is outfitted with a camera, microphone, and I control it with my laptop or my android based phone. Now aside from the fact that I am a big kid and this thing is cool, this is a very practical tool for our paranormal team. We often get claims of noises in areas that my 6’3″ 350lb frame can’t fit in. That is where TOD comes into play, I have modified him to make him more compact and he now carries a more powerful light to see in the dark. So now when we get a report of a noise in a crawlspace or attic, I can run him into the area and transmit noises through him to track his exact location. Once I get to the correct area, I can use the camera to see if there are any loose pipes, animal droppings or nests and then take pictures to show the client. Now TOD has a few other tricks up his sleeves…well he doesn’t have arms anymore. He also carries a microphone so I can actually monitor an area and run an EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon) session with no human presence. He also has an alarm setting so that if the camera detects any movement he sends an alarm to me through my laptop or phone.

That is one of the great things we do at the Tech Council, we turn things that people don’t want into tools that people don’t expect. Like most of my tools TOD is getting upgrades very soon. His next upgrade is a better quality camera and I am currently putting together the parts to make that camera pan and tilt so that I can get a better view of my surroundings. Those are some of the newest tools (toys) that we are developing within the Tech Council.

Some of the other tools we are currently working on – a Hydrophone made form an old buzzer and a 35mm film case, an underwater camera made from an old web camera and clear housing. Both of these are being tested for our Champy investigation we are going to do on Lake Champlain this summer.

If you’re interested in finding out more about our group visit us at www.nnyprs.com. And if you are interested in attending one of our Investigative seminars in Albany, NY then send me an email at Brian@nnyprs.com.

Brian following TOD's adventures on his laptop.

About Brian Leighton:
Brian Is the NNYPRS Team Leader and head of the Tech Council. You can contact him at Brian@nnyprs.com with any question or comments.