Spirited Away's No-Face as a mechanical piggy bank

The Kaonashi No-Face Piggy Bank makes the most out of one of the coolest characters in Studio Ghibli's storied history -- but getting one exported to you from Japan costs an astounding $164. (via Kadrey) Read the rest

Cube Spinner tantalizingly close to Lament Configuration

The cube-shaped fidget spinner is the only cool fidget spinner, but they could and should be even better: whoever is responsible for Hellraiser merchandise is missing a trick. (Though you can get a Lemarchand's Rubik's Cube)

Read the rest

Restoring a 50 year-old Hot Wheels model car

baremetalHW collects, revives and customizes Hot Wheels toys. Above, a 1968 Deora is restored to its original glory; he shows the paints and techniques required to get it right. Below, a contemporary model is turned into a Mad Max monster.

Read the rest

How Matchbox cars were made in 1965

Here is delightful factory footage from 1965 of Matchbox car manufacturing in the London Borough of Hackney. From Wikipedia:

The Matchbox name originated in 1953 as a brand name of the British die-casting company, Lesney Products, whose reputation would be moulded by John W. "Jack" Odell (1920–2007), Leslie Charles Smith (1918–2005), and Rodney Smith (hence the name Lesney, a portmanteau of Leslie and Rodney Smith's first names). Their first major sales success was the popular model of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation coach, which sold more than a million models. Shortly thereafter, Lesney co-owner Jack Odell created a toy that effectively paved the way for the company's future success. It was designed for his daughter: her school only allowed children to bring toys that could fit inside a matchbox, so Odell crafted a scaled-down version of the Lesney green and red road roller. This toy ultimately became the first of the 1-75 miniature range. A dump truck and a cement mixer completed the original three-model release that marked the starting point for the mass-market success of the Matchbox series. As a result of the inspiration for the toys' size, the idea was born to sell the models in replica matchboxes — thus yielding the name of the series. It also resulted in the description of the models' scales being "1:box" (as opposed to more mathematical scales such as 1:87, 1:64, or 1:43).

(via Laughing Squid)

Read the rest

Reminder: don't eat fidget spinners

Fox News reports that a girl in Texas nearly choked on a fidget spinner that she had put in her mouth. Her mom looked over to see the child red-faced and drooling, and had to rush her to hospital to get the quarter-sized toy removed from her esophagus.

“From this I wish to offer some word of caution to parents,” Joniec posted. “Fidget spinners are the current craze so they are widely distributed. Kids of all ages may be getting them, but not all spinners come with age-appropriate warnings. The bushings pop out easily, so if you have young kids (under 8 yr old) keep in mind that these present a potential choking hazard.”

Read the rest

Loop-a-Lot (1966) crummy toy commerical

The Loop-a-Lot is described by this YouTuber as a "crummy toy." Is it really crummy? Well, it probably didn't keep kids amused for more that 45 seconds. So, it probably is crummy.

The purpose of the toy is to balance pennies on points inside cutouts of a paddle while you spin it around your finger. You could make one out of a piece of cardboard in a couple of minutes.

The manufacturers knew this toy would be a hard sell, so they resorted to the desperate ploy of incorporating a suit-wearing, roller skating monkey into the commercial. Read the rest

Pixel-art Useless Machine on the web

A classic favorite of Boing Boing editors, the Useless Machine has been implemented as a website for your button-pressing pleasure. Read the rest

Make crazy 3D houses with Brick Block

Oskar Stalberg (previously) made Brick Block, a fun online 3D toy that lets you design surreal blocky houses. You can spin the scene to any degree and have it generate random houses. It's like the level editor for a Victorian-themed version of the classic cyberpunk game Syndicate.

Read the rest

Custom Minecraft figs with glowing eyes and swords

Red Lava Toys is a Detroit-based startup that make super cool, low-cost custom Minecraft figs at a local makerspace: they CNC-milled their own injection molds for the body and joints, and have precision die-cut vinyl stickers that they print to order with long-lasting ink and cover with a clear adhesive coat, then place them on the body of the toy. Read the rest

In 1982, Mattel fielded a teen-pregnancy Barbie toy

Midge is a semi-disavowed character in the Barbieverse, created in 1963 to counter claims that Barbie was oversexualized; weirdly, in 1982, Mattel made the decision to release a version of the doll, who appeared to be a young teen, as a pregnant lady, with a detachable bump containing an articulated foetus. Read the rest

You won't be able to unsee this Tickle Me Elmo skinned alive

The Canada Science and Technology Museum had the best worst idea of all time: they stripped the fur off a Tickle Me Elmo to show kids how it works.

Bonus video: a classic of the little robot demon afire:

Furless Tickle Me Elmo for Tinkering Activity (YouTube / Canada Science and Technology Museum) Read the rest

A doll designed to bend into the whole alphabet

Mister Alphabet is an action-figure designed to cleverly bend and contort into every letter of the Latin alphabet; the website is long on trademark warnings and arty Instagram photos, but short on details, like, "Is this an object of commerce?" and "If so, where does one buy it?" (via Kottke) Read the rest

Rolls of Lego tape!

Nimuno Loops are rolls of Lego-compatible adhesive tape. Genius idea and no surprise that they've blown wayyyyyy past their Indiegogo goal to manufacture the stuff.

Imagine being able to build around corners, on curved surfaces, or even onto the sides of that sailing ship you've just spent hours building. You forgot to engineer a point of attachment for that sweet dinosaur-smashing cannon? No problem. Snip a length of Nimuno Loops, stick it on the hull, mount your cannon and be on yarr way.

"LEGO Compatible Adhesive Tape - Nimuno Loops" (Indiegogo)

Read the rest

Minimalist web publishing platforms

Check out txt.fyi, a toy "publishing platform" I made. I put that phrase in quotes because it's designed to be as lightweight as possible: you type in text and hit publish, and your work is live on the internet. From the "about" page:

This is the dumbest publishing platform on the web. ... There's no tracking, ad-tech, webfonts, analytics, javascript, cookies, databases, user accounts, comments, friending, likes, follower counts or other quantifiers of social capital. The only practical way for anyone to find out about a posting is if the author links to it elsewhere.

But it is legible, no-nonsense static hypertext, good for short stories, not-short-enough tweets and adventures and all your numbers station or internet dead drop needs. Here you can scream into the void and know the form of your voice is out there forever.

Search engines are instructed not to index posts and I'll do my best to make sure this isn't used as a tool by spammers or other abusers. Nonetheless, posting will be turned off if anything bad grows out of it.

Use Dumbdown to format posts: #header, **bold**, *italic*, `code`, quote, and hyperlinks in the format [link](http://example.com). Try !hacker and !professor and !timestamp too. ...

Long live the independent web!

Read the rest

Internet-connected teddy bear leaked kids' data online

Update: Dupe!

Internet-connected Cloud Pets stored recordings online and put associated data in an unprotected database for hackers to find.

Since Christmas day of last year and at least until the first week of January, Spiral Toys left customer data of its CloudPets brand on a database that wasn't behind a firewall or password-protected. The MongoDB was easy to find using Shodan, a search engine makes it easy to find unprotected websites and servers, according to several security researchers who found and inspected the data. ... During the time the data was exposed, at least two security researchers, and likely malicious hackers, got their hands on it. In fact, at the beginning of January, during the time several cybercriminals were actively scanning the internet for exposed MongoDB's databases to delete their data and hold it for ransom, CloudPets' data was overwritten twice, according to researchers.

Security researcher Troy Hunt reports that the snuggly spies, from Spiral Toys, "represents the nexus" of the problem with internet-connected appliances and toys: children being recorded, data being leaked, and the technical possibility of surreptitious access to children through networked toys. "The best way to understand what these guys do is to simply watch the video [advertisement for the toy]."

Clearly, CloudPets weren't just ignoring my contact, they simply weren't even reading their emails. 4 attempts (that we know of) were made to contact CloudPets and warn them of this risk.
Read the rest

Collapsing "connected toy" company did nothing while hackers stole millions of voice recordings of kids and parents

Spiral Toys -- a division of Mready, a Romanian electronics company that lost more than 99% of its market-cap in 2015 -- makes a line of toys called "Cloudpets," that use an app to allow parents and children to exchange voice-messages with one another. They exposed a database of millions of these messages, along with sensitive private information about children and parents, for years, without even the most basic password protections -- and as the company imploded, they ignored both security researchers and blackmailers who repeatedly contacted them to let them know that all this data was being stolen. Read the rest

For sale: the toy blocks Einstein played with as a kid

Richard Davies writes, "Einstein's childhood building blocks have been listed for sale on the AbeBooks.com marketplace for books and collectibles." Read the rest

More posts