Siftables, which you may have already seen featured on PopSci's Future Of on the Science Channel), are computerized blocks that can communicate wirelessly, sense their orientation and proximity to other blocks, and display an image. Those seemingly simple attributes enable a nearly endless range of gaming and other interactive possibilities.
Siftables blocks can transmit music cues to each other to become musical instruments, display letters or numbers for educational games, or interact with a console to become the controllers for a larger gaming system. By giving physical form to abstract data, the blocks bridge the gap between physical and virtual. It's best explained and demonstrated by creator David Merrill himself at last year's TED conference:
You can follow Sifteo's developments at their newly launched site, but frankly, there are only two questions I need answered: where can I get them, and how soon?
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.