By Amber WilliamsPosted 02.16.2012 at 10:04 am 5 Comments
The National Toy Hall of Fame awarded “oldest toy” to the stick. Edward Bleiberg, a curator of Egyptian art at the Brooklyn Museum, says that Neolithic balls made from mud are probably out there, but in any case it would be difficult to determine if they were playthings.
By Bryan GardinerPosted 02.14.2012 at 10:07 am 1 Comment
Building and programming robots is no small feat. Just to get a robot to perform a simple action—say, turning when someone claps—can require hours of coding. Cubelets make robot creation as simple as stacking blocks.
By Amber WilliamsPosted 02.13.2012 at 11:00 am 10 Comments
Last October, near Karlsruhe, Germany, Thomas Senkel completed the first manned flight of an electric multicopter, flying it 10 feet off the ground for 90 seconds. Senkel, a physicist and paraglider pilot who helped found the company E-volo to build the craft, invented it after seeing a YouTube video of a German hobbyist’s remote-controlled hexacopter in action.
An Android speaker dock, a radiator booster, an RC spy-copter, and much more
By Corinne Iozzio, Susannah F. Locke, Kaitlin MillerPosted 02.13.2012 at 10:14 am 1 Comment
Every month we search far and wide to bring you a dozen of the best new ideas in gear. These gadgets are the first, the best and the latest. Check out the gallery below to get the first look at what consumer technology has brought us this month.
By Amber WilliamsPosted 02.10.2012 at 4:18 pm 0 Comments
Sure, you can buy fun things. But if you make them, you get the fun of construction plus the fun of use, with a dash of satisfaction and an anecdote to tell anyone who uses your creation. These three projects--a sledding winch to get you up a hill, a giant version of the board game Operation, and an Angry-Birds-playing robot--are all homemade.
What would the creators of some of the most beloved and widespread American toys make, if given a completely blank slate? We asked the driving forces behind toys like K'Nex, LEGO, Tickle Me Elmo, and Nerf to really explore their craziest impulses--and man, did they come up with some craziness.
One full week of keeping track of absolutely everything, to see if gamification can net you a win in the game of life
By Matthew ShaerPosted 02.09.2012 at 2:56 pm 4 Comments
The experiment began at 11 a.m. in my bedroom in Brooklyn. I bought an app from the iTunes store called EpicWin, a fantasy-themed game designed to improve users' lives by motivating them to accomplish real-world goals with virtual-world rewards. Before starting the game, I had to pick and customize an avatar that would represent me in the digital landscape of EpicWin. I chose a cadaverous warrior named Calcium Facebone. He held a blunt mallet in one hand. "Add new task," the screen read.
Kingda Ka, the tallest roller coaster on Earth, drops its passengers a life-flashing 418 feet. Ferrari World's Formula Rossa, the fastest, literally takes riders' breath away at speeds of up to 150 mph. Though thrilling, these are phenomena of degree, not kind. BRC Imagination Arts, a Southern California design firm, has proposed something entirely new: a ride that creates the sensation of zero gravity for up to eight seconds at a time.
"Gravity has always been a major part of my life."
By Paul KvintaPosted 02.08.2012 at 2:41 pm 3 Comments
In the waning decades of the 20th century, men from New Zealand began inventing new ways to injure themselves. They jumped from bridges with elastic bands attached to their ankles, ran class-five rapids without boats, and fixed themselves to large kites to achieve great speed. Soon enough, a culture had emerged—one that paired backyard engineering with the pursuit of adrenaline. Today, thanks to these pioneers, brave souls the world over may hurtle through the air, down mountains and up rivers and live to brag about it.
Among the most strictly enforced consumer-protection laws are those banning lead in toys. Lead is an insidious poison: It’s slow-acting and results not in immediately noticeable effects like rashes but in behavioral problems and a slightly lowered IQ. Even a very small amount of it is harmful. Yet a few decades ago, a lot of the most popular playthings were made from solid lead, including tin soldiers.