Here's Brian Egenriether's new-and-improved Skittles sorting machine. It's interesting to note that he used machinable epoxy for the parts instead of using a 3D printer. I know 3D printing is the future, but the current crop of home 3D printers make ugly parts. Subtractive fabrication technology makes better looking stuff, at least for now.
This machine sorts Skittles, m&m's and similar candies by color. It is the 3rd revision of the original machine. The inside is now complete and features user-selectable inputs to choose which type of candy to sort. Types not shown include Reese's Pieces and other types of Skittles.
The microcontroller is a BASIC Stamp 2 and the color sensor is made by TAOS. I made most of the parts by hand from a machinable epoxy including the outer case, inner housing, hopper mechanism, 5 way chute, and the the rotating disk inside. The other parts include a piece of PVC, ceramic bowls, telescope parts, wood for the base, and the funnel which was cut from a hummingbird feeder.
Automatic Sorting of Skittles or M&Ms by Colour (Thanks, D.S. Deboer!)
David LaFerriere has drawn a picture on almost every one of his kids' lunch bags since 2008. He uses colored Sharpies to draw on the plastic bags. See all of them (over 1,100!) on his Flickr stream. (Via Colossal; Thanks, Sally!)
Last year I wrote about Remo Camerota's DevoBot project, an iOS application that lets you design DEVO-inspired robot art and play music using unreleased DEVO sounds. It's now available for $0.99 in the iTunes stores.
What are these? Even after reading the description, I'm not sure. But they are awfully cute. I'm adding these images to my swipe file for times when I need creative inspiration.
DIFFA + Interface
Goodnight Moon (1947) is Margaret Wise Brown's most famous book. It's terrific, without a doubt. It entertained my kids several dozen times when they were little. But I won't shed a tear if I never read it again. Brown's less-well known children's book, The Important Book, is her magnum opus. Goodnight Moon has pleasant rhymes, but The Important Book (1949) is true poetry about perceiving the world around us, and my wife and I both felt moved whenever we read it to our kids.
The title page of the book has a tiny image of a book and an illustration of a cricket:
The important thing
about a cricket is
that it is black.
and sings all through the summer night.
But the important thing
about a cricket is
that it is black.
The other pages identify the important things about daisies, glass, water, shoes, spoons, and other common items, celebrating the mystery in the ordinary. Leonard Weisgard's color illustrations are rendered with a kind of quiet surrealism that increases the impact of Brown's writing.
The Important Book rekindles the sense of wonder we were born with.
The Important Book
Goldie Blox and The Spinning Machine is a game designed to encourage young girls to get into engineering. I gave my 6-year-old daughter a set for her birthday and she loves it!
Kids join Goldie via a series of short stories. They build, along side Goldie and her pals, the same machines she does! The machines largely spin characters around pirouette-style, and the designs are never complex! Its really engaging!
Building with Goldie's Blox is easy. There is a stable board where axles and posts slot in cleanly. Children wrap ribbon around them and use cranks to wind, tension and spin things. The stories are well written and very simply walk kids through the basics. The designs are easy to follow. I was really pleased with how well designed the whole game is. Engineers, go figure!
Finding engaging toys and games that expose my daughter to mechanical engineering, science and just how the world works is difficult. The first time she played with Goldie, my daughter built machines for 3 hours. I'd say this game does a good job.
I'm a big fan of Goldie Blox and The Spinning Machine.
I loved Jonny Quest when I was a kid, and I think my 10-year-old (and I) will love Rocket Robinson, a graphic novel by Sean O'Neill, which reminds me of the 1960s cartoon. Get a taste of it by reading the webcomic, and then chip in to Kickstarter if you dig it.
Rocket Robinson and the Pharaoh’s Fortune (or RRPF for short) is a classic adventure story set in Egypt in the 1930s, and follows the exploits of 12-year-old adventurer Rocket Robinson as he tries to unravel the mystery of a hidden, ancient treasure, located somewhere in the city of Cairo. For the last three years, the story has been available online as a webcomic, but unlike many other webcomics, this story was always envisioned as a book. It is a single, stand-alone story, and—although many comic fans around the world have been enjoying reading one page a week—it’s meant to be read cover-to-cover as a book.
The Rocket Robinson Graphic Novel
My 10-year-daughter Jane and I love Yodel-Oh!, an iOS target tapper game where you have to keep a Swiss mountain climber from falling off the edge of a cliff. The developer, Spinlight, just announced a spin-off, called Yodel-Oh! Math Mountain (iPad, iPhone) that adds the challenge of having to solve arithmetic problems.
The game is gorgeous, and one of the best things about it is that is free of the annoying crap that many iOS games are larded with: 3rd party add-ons, social network links, location tracking, and in-app purchases. Thanks, Spinlight!
Matthew Good is the creator of DragonBox+, "an educational puzzle game that also secretly teaches you how to do algebra."
The basic premise is that you must isolate the dragon on one side of the board in order for him to emerge. After each level the dragon will grow a little until he is finally full grown. The game gradually introduces new abilities that mimic algebraic concepts such as elimination, fractions, isolating variables and others without it being obvious.
We were recently at GDC to accept the award for Best Serious Game at the International Mobile Gaming Awards.
We have also seen parents post videos of their children playing the game. For example, a four year old boy solves the equation "e/e + x + (-1) = d" in this video.
Gilbert Hernandez is the co-creator of, Love & Rockets, one of the best comic book series of all time. His newest work is Marble Season, a beautifully-told semiautobiography of a boy growing up. Read the 8-page excerpt below.
Marble Season is the semiautobiographical novel by the acclaimed cartoonist Gilbert Hernandez, author of the epic masterpiece Palomar and cocreator, with his brothers, Jaime and Mario, of the groundbreaking Love and Rockets comic book series. Marble Season is his first book with Drawn & Quarterly, and one of the most anticipated books of 2013. It tells the untold stories from the early years of these American comics legends, but also portrays the reality of life in a large family in suburban 1960s California. Pop-culture references—TV shows, comic books, and music—saturate this evocative story of a young family navigating cultural and neighborhood norms set against the golden age of the American dream and the silver age of comics.
Middle child Huey stages Captain America plays and treasures his older brother’s comic book collection almost as much as his approval. Marble Season subtly and deftly details how the innocent, joyfully creative play that children engage in (shooting marbles, backyard performances, and organizing treasure hunts) changes as they grow older and encounter name-calling naysayers, abusive bullies, and the value judgments of other kids. An all-ages story, Marble Season masterfully explores the redemptive and timeless power of storytelling and role play in childhood, making it a coming-of-age story that is as resonant with the children of today as with the children of the sixties.
Read the rest
Here's a great tutorial for making your own glittery superhero paper bracelets out of toilet-paper rolls. The trick is to use blue painter's tape backing to keep the cardboard intact while it's all gluey.
This may seem like a strange way of doing things - to cut and then stick back together etc - but we went through a couple of versions of this before the toilet roll pieces survived - when you paint the toilet roll it tends to collapse go floppy. This was the best process we came up with.
After you have cut, taped and stuffed your toilet roll you are ready to:
- paint (allow to dry)
- apply a light layer of glue and then roll in glitter (allow to dry)
- seal on the glitter by applying a layer of gluey glaze (1 part glue to 2 parts water) (allow to dry)
- add some super hero gems/sparkles
Once all your paint, glitter and glue is dry remove the newspaper and painters tape from inside and round of the corners.
Paper Roll Craft: Super Hero Bracelets
I bought Jane a $60 quadcopter from Banggood for her 10th birthday. One of the motor wires was broken on arrival so I had to solder it back on, and the battery charger was for a European power outlet so I broke it open and soldered on a US plug. Now it works and it's a lot of fun. It has a built in video camera, too!
It has two control modes. Mode 1 is the "beginner mode," which doesn't allow for tight turns. We like Mode 2, because it's actually easier to control. You can flip the captor 360 with the touch of a button on the transmitter, which Jane loves.
Here's a video of Jane flying it and me being paranoid that she's going to get it stuck in a tree. She ends up landing it in the street, and I say a naughty word.
Here is some delightful music for a Monday morning: "Music with Children: Playing the Recorder" by music educator Grace Nash (1909-1990) and friends. (via Toys and Techniques)
As I've said before, I've been a fan of Bob Staake's illustration ever since David and I stumbled across his ABC and 123 books at SF Moma in 1998. Bob's art is appealing in its simplicity, but it's also sophisticated and wry. No surprise that he has illustrated quite a few New Yorker covers. He does all of his illustration work using a pre-OS X version of the Macintosh operating system and Photoshop 3. He doesn't use a stylus, and instead does everything with a mouse.
It's with great pleasure that Boing Boing gets to premiere the trailer for Bob's new book, Bluebird. He's been working on it for 10 years, and it's a mind-blowing story aimed at 4-8 year olds. It's told without words, and it's about a boy, a bird, and some bullies. I don't want to spoil the story so I'll stop there. I agree with Kirkus Reviews assessment: "Like nothing you have seen before." Is it Bob's magnum opus? I'd say "yes.. so far." Who knows what he'll do next?
"Lindt Bunny Family," a photo shared in the Boing Boing Flickr pool by Paul J. "Leave them alone, and they multiply."