Wonderful toy photography reveals delightful alternate realities

Pro toy photographer Mitchel Wu creates these stunning scenes using "practical effects," physical effects created without computer-generated imagery.

I create and craft stories through toy photography...capturing the illusion of motion and emotion where none exist. Bridging the gap between toys and the stories in one's head - it's all fun and games...

See more on Wu's Instagram too!

(via PetaPixel)

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There's a cute VW bus made for little kids

Three hundred and fifty bucks doesn't seem unreasonable for this kids' electric VW T1 Camper Van. The red-and-white two-seater IS an officially licensed product, so it may be of decent quality. Not only does it have working head and tail lights but it also goes forward and in reverse. It can only handle up to 110 lbs., so grownups will just have to get a real one (or get this T1 fridge).

(The Awesomer) Read the rest

A ball that inverts and changes color when it is midair, and the scientific literature that explains it

The Hoberman Switch Pitch Throwing Ball is a $12 toy that instantiates a dual polyhedron: every time you throw it, it turns inside-out; there's a wealth of scientific literature that explains how this works, including this open-access paper from the Journal of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures. Here's JWZ's summary: "The curved body panels that make it look like a sphere hide an internal structure that is a cube; or really, two tetrahedrons embedded in a cube; and when it its its activation energy, the tetrahedron becomes its dual, swapping faces and vertices." Read the rest

Check out this fun song performed on instruments made of LEGO

LEGO invited YouTuber Andrew Huang to make a song using only instruments he constructed from the colorful plastic bricks. Some very creative instruments were the result. Read the rest

The Pocket Sprite's a game console that's small enough to fit on your keychain

Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Pocket Sprite – a $55 piece of game emulation hardware that fits in the palm of your hand. Measuring just an inch wide and two inches tall, the Pocket Sprite looks like the smallest Game Boy you've ever seen. It plays like it too, with A, B, start and selection buttons and a wee display with dimension sized to make playing games from the 1980s and 1990s in their original format feel "right."

Out of the box, the Pocket Sprite can play homebrew games designed to work with Game Boy, Game Boy Color and Sega console emulators. Before you ask, yes, this also means that any Game Boy or Sega ROMs you happen to find online will work with the hardware.

Before laying hands on it, I was apprehensive about how playable the Pocket Sprite might be. I still carry around a Game Boy Micro console with me, everywhere I go. I find that it's juuuuust small enough to pocket and still large enough that playing Super Mario World for 30 minutes can actually be enjoyable. The Pocket Sprite's way smaller than my GB Micro is. I was surprised by how easy its chunky controls were to use. But I was disappointed by how hard it was to keep track of a game's action on its display. For my eyes, it's just too small. But maybe your experience will be different.

Whether or not the Game Sprite is worth $55 really depends on why you're buying it. Read the rest

Spirograph in a tin, just like you remember

I gave my daughter a spirograph for Valentine's Day.

I spent hours doodling with a spirograph as a kid. My set came in a tin pretty much just like this one.

It is tempting to wallpaper her room with individual spirograph doodles.

Spirograph Design Tin Set via Amazon Read the rest

Nintendo's new cardboard extensions for Switch are blowing users away

Everyone is raving about Nintendo Labo, simple contraptions made with cardboard and circuits that turn a Switch into a whole new experience. Read the rest

This synthesizer for preschoolers looks like fun for all ages

Blipblox is a deceptively simple-looking toy that lets young kids experiment with sound design and music.

Presales start this spring, according to the description:

The Blipblox is a fully functional synthesizer beatbox that has been simplified and optimized so everyone, including children as young as 3 years old, can enjoy synthesizer audio exploration. This video will give you a taste of the wide range of fun sounds you can create on the Blipblox. Ships with a Learning Toolbox to help older kids (and adults with no synth experience) dig a little deeper.

My personal policy is never to give children's gifts that make any kind of noise, but if there's someone in your life with a high tolerance for kid-produced sounds, maybe their little creative person would enjoy this.

Here's another test drive at NAMM 2018:

Blipblox studio session (YouTube / Blipblox Explorer Channel) Read the rest

Nerf's new blasters are pretty danged badass

Nerf has unveiled six new blasters that will ship in fall of 2018, with some pretty amazing features, as detailed in Josie Colt's Wired roundup: the N-Strike Elite Infinius has a funnel you pour ammo into and it automagically slots them into a 30-dart magazine; the Modulus Ghost Ops Evader has a how-it-works-style transparent housing that lights up; the Zombie Strike Survival System Scravenger has twin dart-clips and a breakaway secondary blaster with two holdout shots; while the Nitro Doubleclutch Inferno fires little foam rolling cars around a tracked obstacle course. Read the rest

Flybrix: "rebuildable, crash-friendly drones" made from Lego

Flybrix kits allow you to turn a variety of Lego builds into little copter-drones that you can fly with an app or a Bluetooth joystick. Read the rest

Is your Etch A Sketch game at Kyle Fleming's level?

If drawing stairsteps on an Etch A Sketch seems like the pinnacle of achievement, these masterworks by Kyle Fleming may inspire you to new heights. They may also inspire you to shake yours clean and permanently donate it to the nearest toddler. Read the rest

A fully-functional Rubik's Cube made of ice

Starting in 1980, spurred by popularity of the Rubik's Cube, UK-based Tony Fisher started passionately collecting "twisty puzzles."

Over the years, he's become quite the collector and inventor. All his "transformations" are really impressive. In fact, in 2016, he became a Guinness World Record holder for "World's Largest Rubik's Cube."

Well, now he has fashioned a fully-functional Rubik's Cube out of ice.

He explains:

This is my Rubik's Cube made from 95% ice and it is fully functional. All 8 corners and 12 edges are solid ice. The 6 centres are 50% ice and the core is plastic. The screws and springs are regular metal ones. The puzzle shown is a first attempt and works surprising well. I am thinking about making others with full ice centres and also fully coloured ones.
This video doesn't show how he made it and you'll see that the video footage is reversed in the beginning, making the melting ice seemingly "build" the toy. He does, however, write that he'll be posting the construction video soon. (Daily Mail)

Previously: WATCH: World record smallest 7x7x7 Rubik's Cube Read the rest

Uranium glass marbles

If you're concerned that these Uranium Glass Marbles are simply standard marbles with phosphorescent material or somesuch, worry not! Amazon assures the consumer that they'll get a geiger counter going.

... A Ludlum Model 44-9 Geiger-Mueller probe connected to a Ludlum Model 3 when in direct contact will read several hundred cpm.

That said, a lot of the reviewers talk of using blacklight to see them, which does suggest an absolute minimum of radioactive material augmented by fluorescent paint. There's six in each pack of 5/8" marbles. Read the rest

This political sorting hat will assign you a nice flag

According to Politiscales, a political Myers-Briggs type questionnaire and sorting hat, I'm some kind of happy hippy anarchist with no time for terfs. I often found the questions vague or open to interpretation, so would moderate answers that might be more assertively stated down the pub. It coughed up this nice purple flag, too. I've never seen it before and Google Images doesn't know what it represents, but it's rather suggestive of the sexier regions of the left. Read the rest

Complete tour of the LEGO House in Denmark

The Beyond the Brick channel headed to Billund, Denmark for a superfan's tour of the LEGO House. What's great about this tour is that the host knows the names of many of the builders, and has met a lot of them personally, giving the tour a real insider's feel. Read the rest

This 6-year-old made $11 million on YouTube in one year

Meet Ryan, age 6. He's the host of Ryan ToysReview on YouTube. He earned $11 million in revenue in twelve months. From the Washington Post:

What has grown into a viral phenomenon began with a simple, unremarkable 15-minute video about a Lego Duplo train set. When his family started recording and posting the videos in March 2015, the 3-year-old barely had any views let alone reviews, according to a profile of Ryan in Verge. In his first video, he simply opened a Lego box, set up the blocks, and played with them.

“Ryan was watching a lot of toy review channels — some of his favorites are EvanTubeHD and Hulyan Maya — because they used to make a lot of videos about Thomas the Tank Engine, and Ryan was super into Thomas,” his mother, who declined to be named, told TubeFilter last year.

“One day, he asked me, ‘How come I’m not on YouTube when all the other kids are?’ So we just decided — yeah, we can do that. Then, we took him to the store to get his very first toy — I think it was a Lego train set — and it all started from there.”

"6-year-old made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on YouTube" (WaPo)

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Eco-friendly bamboo toy cars and planes

Giant Grass Design recently did a successful crowdfunding round to create eco-friendly bamboo toy vehicles. These look like lots of fun! Read the rest

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