Singaporean toymaker Michael Sng made Boudicca, a T1 Training Colossus -- a 3D-printed robot tank with 400 custom parts and servos controlled by an Arduino. Read the rest
Frank Kidd, 83, is the proprietor of Kidd's Toy Museum, a private collection of 20,000 antique toys, from cars and trucks to figurines to, Kidd's favorite genre, mechanical banks like the one above. Some of the toys reveal a lot about the era they're from. Read the rest
Some parents are complaining that a Minions talking toy available at McDonald's sounds like it says "What the fuck!" Gotta love audio pareidolia. Read the rest
Collectors Weekly's Ben Marks says, "Schiffer Publishing has just released 'Doll Junk: Collectible & Crazy Fashions from the ’70s & ’80s,' by Carmen Varricchio, who fills almost 200 pages with images of Barbie and Ken knockoffs and the campy fashions that manufacturers in the U.S. and Europe thought would appeal to little girls. Read the rest
Good Art Hlywd remade the classic green army men toy figures in sterling silver. Read the rest
I had the earlier version of the Plugable USB Handheld Digital Microscope and liked it a lot. The second version just came out and I love it. Smaller than a prescription pill bottle, the microscope has a USB cord that can be plugged into any computer. Download the software here and start looking up close at money, leaves, circuit boards, bugs, skin, hair, and anything else.
The scope has a built-in, adjustable-brightness LED for illumination. The brightest setting is not always the best - try different levels of illumination and let the software auto-adjust the contrast. I also learned that in order to see things at the maximum 250X magnification you need to follow the instructions in the FAQ.
The scope comes with a suction-cup gooseneck mount that is very stable, and a plastic board with a grid pattern, which helps you align and locate the thing you are looking at. You can also simply hold the scope against things. The software takes still photos and movies, and hasn't crashed on me yet (the earlier version was buggy).
At this price, the microscope is an amazingly entertaining device and I find myself grabbing it to check out all sorts of things, including splinters, skin cuts, bugs, and playing card designs.
Plugable USB 2.0 Handheld Digital Microscope with Stand By Plugable $35 Buy one on Amazon
Top row (left to right): One black whisker and many white whiskers on my chin, strawberry seed, George Washington’s eye on a $1 bill at 250X Middle row: Snap blade knife at 250X, pixels on an iPhone 6 Plus display, seal from $1 Bottom row: Nickel, George Washington’s eye on a $1 bill at 50X, Snap blade knife at 50X,
Bloxels lets kids design playable spaces using physical blocks on a grid—that can then be captured by a tablet device and translated into a real digital game. The creator, Pixel Press, says it's like "coding with Lego." Read the rest
Chances are you’ve heard of many classic Wham-O toys such as the Frisbee, Silly String, and the Slip ’N Slide. The Super Balloon is another Wham-O invention, originally introduced in the 80s, that never quite reached the same legendary toy fame. The good news is that a new version of the Super Balloon is being produced today, so you still have a chance to enjoy an underrated classic toy with your family and friends.
To inflate the Super Balloon, you run into the wind with it, finish it off by blowing it up with your mouth, and then just twist, fold, and seal the open end with a rubber band. A large open space is the best place to use it. My kids love when I throw it as high as I can into the sky, so they can run across the field trying to catch it as it slowly sails back to the ground. They also enjoy spinning it in the air and bouncing it off of walls. With two or more balloons, you can have some very humorous jousting tournaments or slow-motion sword battles.
We did find that the material is susceptible to rips and punctures due to hard play, although some scotch tape repairs gave us a few more hours of play. It’s also hard to control on windy days, therefore it's great as a backup when there isn’t enough wind for kite-flying. This is quite a large and unique toy that you don’t see every day, and when we took it to a local park, we had several families come to check it out and play with us. Read the rest
Columbia University paleontologist Paul Olsen: "Absolutely nothing about this... is even vaguely correct." Read the rest