Jake Bronstein of Zoomdoggle sent me a bunch of Buckyballs and for the last few days my daughters and I have been playing with them during meals and in front of the TV. They're addictive.
Each box contains 216 Buckyballs, arranged in a 6 x 6 x 6 cube. They stick together because they're magnets. The magnets are strong enough that you can make a chain with all 216 balls that won't break when you dangle it. They are so strong in fact, that my thumb is a little bruised from the effort it takes to pull the balls apart.
The fun part about Buckyballs is the way they balls arrange themselves when you stick them together. The balls have a preference for certain crystalline structures. There seems to be a huge variety of structures the balls like to arrange themselves into, as you can see in the video above. (Learn other tricks with Buckyballs.) When I play with them, I feel like my hands are a nanotechnology machine sticking atoms together.
My current goal is to stack them back together into the 6 x 6 x 6 cube, but I haven't been able to figure out how to do it. I know that there are some YouTube videos that show how to do it, but I'm going to try to figure it out on my own.
(Disclosure: I'm an unpaid adviser to Zoomdoggle.)
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. Come and hear Mark speak at the ALA conference in Chicago on July 1.