It looks like a cross between R2D2, the robot of "Star Wars" fame, and a garden hose with a sprinkler attached.
Called the Cobra RPB-2010, or "flying boroscope," it is a computer-controlled small camera system used to conduct visual inspections of jet engines, steam turbines, pipes and other places where people can't go.
The RPB-2010, manufactured by a unit of Irvine-based Identechs, was recently named by Research and Development magazine as one of the 100 most significant technical products of 1987. The products are selected for their significance, uniqueness and usefulness of their technology.
Another Orange County electronics company, Newport Corp. of Fountain Valley, won two awards from the magazine. One was for Newport's $5,988 optical spectrum analyzer, the SuperCavity, which is used in analyzing and "tuning" laser beams. The second R&D award was for a $14,500 electronic vibration isolation system used in laser, electro-optics and semiconductor manufacturing applications.