Tag: Toys-are-Us


“Soccket” Ball Generates Free Electricity

It looks like a normal soccer ball, but Soccket has a secret: a hole for a charging cable. Designed by two Harvard students, the ball has a pendulum-like mechanism inside that stores kinetic energy produced during play. Thirty minutes of play can power an LED lamp for three hours. The plan is to distribute the ball to kids across Africa, helping to bring electricity to rural areas. In this photo, we can see that Soccket also happens to appeal to US presidents.

Source: Reuters

barbie 1

If Barbie Had Human Proportions

With the daily use of Photoshop to retouch celebrities, it’s not surprising that women feel the pressure to conform to what is essentially an illusion. Starting from this reflection, artist Nickolay Lamm decided to change Barbie’s body proportions to more accurately reflect reality.

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Boomeranged Metaphors

Digital Sharing Becomes Physical

Our urge to share everything – photos, food, video games scores – is blurring the line between reality and digital life. Looking at the human history of sharing experiences, it’s highly likely that this line will totally disappear in the near future.

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Back to the Tribe

Serious Gamers Assist Society

Ever imagined that your gaming addiction might help cure cancer? A new generation of computer games have been introduced that deal with citizen science. Citizen science games like Phylo, Foldit and Galaxy Zoo are called serious games, since they carry a serious goal: Providing scientific knowledge through play. This can help with research in topics from life-threatening diseases to decoding ancient manuscripts.

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Google’s Shoes Talk to Runners

After Google Glasses, the electronic ring and the self-driving car, Google just presented this new surprising product in Austin, Texas, during the South by Southwest Interactive conference. The “talking” sneakers, designed by Google in collaboration with the artist Zach Lieberman and the collective YesYesNo, act like a training coach. Fitted with a whole package of electronic devices like a speed detector, pressure sensors in the soles, a gyroscope, a tiny screen and speakers, the shoes also contain a Bluetooth connection. Therefore, they can provide the runner with information and advice about their activity. Like a real coach, they can also motivate or reprehend you if necessary.

The information is then shown on the tiny screen, which is quite inconvenient for those who aren’t able to look only at their feet while running. But Google has thought about everything: the Bluetooth connection also sends the data to a smartphone app and automatically publishes messages on the user’s Google account, so that anybody can check if you’re taking a sneaky break during your jog. This might be worse than an actual coach!

From Future Sciences.


Gangnam Autonomy

“A robot is a mechanical apparatus designed to do the work of a man. Its components are usually electro-mechanical and are guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry. By mimicking a lifelike appearance or automating movements, a robot may convey a sense of intelligence or thought of its own. There are concerns about the increasing use of robots and their role in society. Robots are blamed for rising unemployment as they replace workers in some functions. The possibility of robot autonomy and potential repercussions has been addressed in fiction and may be a realistic concern in the future.”

(quote: wikipedia)

Imagine the hours of work that engineers put into the toy to let it perform this single task. To make sure that robot-autonomy stays passive and innocent? Or perhaps to preserve a 2012 hype for the ages?

The latter makes me realistically concerned…

Boomeranged Metaphors

Millions Mourn After Massacre Leaves City Littered with (Virtual) Dead

“Earlier today, certain realms were affected by an in-game exploit, resulting in the deaths of player characters and non-player characters in some of the major cities,” wrote a representative going by the name of Nethaera. This October, a serial hacker laid waste to World of Warcraft (WoW),  unleashing a deadly “significant hack”. This virtual genocide left thousands of skeletons littering the realm of Azeroth. Perhaps stranger still was the fact that mainstream news organizations from the BBC to the Huffington Post breathlessly reported the events. As we move towards an increasingly virtual existence we should expect a lot more major virtual news.

Playing Food
Suburban Utopia

Playing with Your Food (Industry)

Back in the old days, we played with a Playmobil®  farm. With a farmhouse, two pigs and a chicken, and it was a fair reflection of how the food industry worked. Nowadays small farms are overgrown by factory farming, fattening cattle at breakneck-speed in order to get them ready for slaugther as quickly as possible. Children do not comprehend this. They still believe in the nostalgic image of small peaceful farms, which their toys match – until now!

Tomm Velthuis has made a wooden play set, called “Playing Food”, that represents the real food industry. Now, children can breed and fatten around 200 pigs by supplying the required amount of food. The pigs will end up waiting for their time of slaughter in pig sheds that can contain eleven pigs. The set includes felled rainforrest trees and acid rain clouds, as a consequence of the unsustainable meat industry.

Boomeranged Metaphors

Where Games are Made

For his Made of Myth series, Marc Da Cunha Lopes goes back to the places where the elements of great game classics were made. You really didn’t think it was all virtual, right? Above: the gold rings from Sonic.
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A Clockwork Forest

Has nature become a fairytale or do we want it to be one? In their installation The Clockwork Forest, artist collective Greyworld seems to opt for the latter.

The work of art consists of a giant golden key attached to a living tree in a forest, giving it a nice theme-park aesthetic. When the key is turned, the tree plays a fairy-tale-ish lullaby and the suggestion of a wind-up tree is playfully evoked. Close your eyes, and you’ll see goblins and unicorns running through the damp forest. It’s magic…

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