recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : toys   225

« earlier  
Froebel's Gifts - 99% Invisible
"I the late 1700s, a young man named Friedrich Froebel was on track to become an architect when a friend convinced him to pursue a path toward education instead. And in changing course, Froebel arguably ended up having more influence on the world of architecture and design than any single architect — all because Friedrich Froebel created kindergarten. If you’ve ever looked at a piece of abstract art or Modernist architecture and thought “my kindergartener could have made that,” well, that may be more true than you realize."
froebel  foebelgifts  kindergarten  education  design  toys  play  friedrichfroebel  modernism  normanbrosterman  tamarzinguer  alexandralange  2019 
23 days ago by robertogreco
A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance - YouTube
"(Visit: http://www.uctv.tv) Follow a team of UCLA anthropologists as they venture into the stuffed-to-capacity homes of dual income, middle-class American families in order to truly understand the food, toys, and clutter that fill them. Series: "A Cluttered Life: Middle-Class Abundance" [11/2013] [Humanities] [Show ID: 25712]"

[via: https://twitter.com/xraytext/status/999109157612646406 ]

[See also: Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century: 32 Families Open Their Doors
http://www.ioa.ucla.edu/press/life-at-home

and "Americans can spend a majority of their time in a few spaces in their home and still want large homes"
https://legallysociable.com/2018/06/03/americans-can-spend-a-majority-of-their-time-in-a-few-spaces-in-their-home-and-still-want-large-homes/

via: https://twitter.com/amandakhurley/status/1003283050782810113 ]
us  consumerism  consumption  hoarding  possessions  excess  2013  children  toys  accumulation  shopping  families  homes  housing  abundance  ethnography 
june 2018 by robertogreco
What prehistoric toys can tell us about human evolution - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
"In Many ways children shape our future — through their love of new things (particularly technology), ability to think outside the box and the ease with which they greet many new experiences and situations.

Now scientists are considering the importance of children in shaping not only the development of our complex cultures, but our evolution as a species.

To explore the possibilities, psychologists, primatologists, anthropologists, and archaeologists alike are studying how children learn, how they interpret and influence the world around them and how long ago such behaviour may have begun.

At this time, it appears that "kids have been kids" for many thousands of years — at the very least — and perhaps for much longer."
toys  history  human  humans  play  children  evolution  2018  michellelangley  archaeology  anthropology  srg 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Allen Tan on Twitter: "whaaat this is awesome https://t.co/CGyXfFlqAs"
"whaaat this is awesome
["Nintendo is making a bunch of weird DIY cardboard toys for the Switch and they’re awesome" https://www.theverge.com/2018/1/17/16900496/nintendo-switch-labo-cardboard-diy-accessories-announced-price-release-date , see also https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3Bd3HUMkyU ]

so exciting to see the switch be the culmination of weird things that nintendo has been trying to push all its life

like they have been trying to do one-off controllers for F O R E V E R

all right, y’all need to know about some amazing historical examples of cardboard toys

STRAP IN

first of all, @LangeAlexandra wrote a book about some of this stuff

["All the people in my tl going nuts for the Nintendo cardboard kids. Buy them, then go buy “Cardboard Carpentry” or “Nomadic Furniture” or other literature from the 1970s heyday of cardboard creativity.…"
https://twitter.com/LangeAlexandra/status/953759330893025281 ]

1/ ‘Big Jim was Mattel’s non-military version of GI Joe, a handsome guy with a partner named “Josh.” (made of vinyl and cardboard)’ https://www.motor1.com/news/71930/in-the-1970s-we-wanted-these-car-toys-for-christmas/

2/ In the early 70s Milton Bradley made 4 cardboard playsets ranging from SPACE to PLANET OF THE APES to a…HOUSE and, finally, MARVEL WORLD (feat all the characters you know, and more) https://flashbak.com/cardboard-universe-remembering-amsco-playsets-1970s-34930/

3/ and then when Star Wars came out they made the same thing but for the death star etc etc http://www.starwars.com/news/from-cardboard-space-stations-to-creature-cantinas-kenner-vintage-playsets-part-1

(even more photos: https://hiveminer.com/Tags/cardboard,playset/Interesting … )

4/ BEFORE THAT THOUGH, the 60s featured this cardboard fireplace set feat. a “realistic fireglow effect”

(it’s a fan)

5/ lastly, for the design nerds, Roger Limbrick, under the POLYPOPS brand, made 5 large-scale constructions that were meant for kids to crawl around in and move http://www.rogerlimbrick.info/119-polypops-cardboard-toys

“Roger was particularly interested in developing designs which produced movement and active play
in children […]

The design was made from one pre-punched and creased cardboard shape - 18 pieces
for self assembly by folding and interlocking. No glue”

uh, what else

oh, well, since you asked

6/ the 50s features this (life-sized, I think?) golf cart made of cardboard

(courtesy of this listings site: http://www.timewarptoys.com/products.php?cat=Toys1 )

7/ this cardboard whistle? accordion? idk
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Antique-Japan-Paper-Cardboard-Accordion-Toy-Works-Whistle-Sound-Clown-Porky-Pig/332523854554?hash=item4d6bf75ada:g:KG0AAOSw-RhaX5Ho

anyway, there’s lots more to find, if you’re willing to dig around ebay"
allentan  cardboard  toys  history  classideas  nintendo  2018  nintendoswitch  nintendolabo  rogerlimbrick  polypops  children  play  1960s  1970s  miltonbradley  starwars 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Papier Machine
"Papier Machine, the first booklet of interactive electronic paper toys."
toys  classideas  paper  books  interactive  electronics 
january 2018 by robertogreco
10 Fascinating Facts About Ravens | Mental Floss
"Edgar Allan Poe knew what he was doing when he used the raven instead of some other bird to croak out “nevermore” in his famous poem. The raven has long been associated with death and dark omens, but the real bird is somewhat of a mystery. Unlike its smaller cousin the crow, not a lot has been written about this remarkable bird. Here are 10 fascinating facts about ravens.

1. Ravens are one of the smartest animals.
When it comes to intelligence, these birds rate up there with chimpanzees and dolphins. In one logic test, the raven had to get a hanging piece of food by pulling up a bit of the string, anchoring it with its claw, and repeating until the food was in reach. Many ravens got the food on the first try, some within 30 seconds. In the wild, ravens have pushed rocks on people to keep them from climbing to their nests, stolen fish by pulling a fishermen’s line out of ice holes, and played dead beside a beaver carcass to scare other ravens away from a delicious feast.

If a raven knows another raven is watching it hide its food, it will pretend to put the food in one place while really hiding it in another. Since the other ravens are smart too, this only works sometimes.

2. Ravens can imitate human speech.
In captivity, ravens can learn to talk better than some parrots. They also mimic other noises, like car engines, toilets flushing, and animal and birdcalls. Ravens have been known to imitate wolves or foxes to attract them to carcasses that the raven isn’t capable of breaking open. When the wolf is done eating, the raven gets the leftovers.

3. Europeans often saw ravens as evil in disguise.
Many European cultures took one look at this large black bird with an intense gaze and thought it was evil in the flesh … er, feather. In France, people believed ravens were the souls of wicked priests, while crows were wicked nuns. In Germany, ravens were the incarnation of damned souls or sometimes Satan himself. In Sweden, ravens that croaked at night were thought to be the souls of murdered people who didn’t have proper Christian burials. And in Denmark, people believed that night ravens were exorcized spirits, and you’d better not look up at them in case there was a hole in the bird’s wing, because you might look through the hole and turn into a raven yourself.

4. Ravens have been featured in many myths.
Cultures from Tibet to Greece have seen the raven as a messenger for the gods. Celtic goddesses of warfare often took the form of ravens during battles. The Viking god, Odin, had two ravens, Hugin (thought) and Munin (memory), which flew around the world every day and reported back to Odin every night about what they saw. The Chinese said ravens caused bad weather in the forests to warn people that the gods were going to pass by. And some Native American tribes worshipped the raven as a deity in and of itself. Called simply Raven, he is described as a sly trickster who is involved in the creation of the world.

5. Ravens are extremely playful.
The Native Americans weren’t far off about the raven’s mischievous nature. They have been observed in Alaska and Canada using snow-covered roofs as slides. In Maine, they have been seen rolling down snowy hills. They often play keep-away with other animals like wolves, otters, and dogs. Ravens even make toys—a rare animal behavior—by using sticks, pinecones, golf balls, or rocks to play with each other or by themselves. And sometimes they just taunt or mock other creatures because it’s funny.

6. Ravens do weird things with ants.
They lie in anthills and roll around so the ants swarm on them, or they chew the ants up and rub their guts on their feathers. The scientific name for this is called “anting.” Songbirds, crows, and jays do it too. The behavior is not well understood; theories range from the ants acting as an insecticide and fungicide for the bird to ant secretion soothing a molting bird’s skin to the whole performance being a mild addiction. One thing seems clear, though: anting feels great if you’re a bird.

7. Ravens use “hand” gestures.
It turns out that ravens make “very sophisticated nonvocal signals,” according to researchers. In other words, they gesture to communicate. A study in Austria found that ravens point with their beaks to indicate an object to another bird, just as we do with our fingers. They also hold up an object to get another bird’s attention. This is the first time researchers have observed naturally occurring gestures in any animal other than primates.

8. Ravens are adaptable.
Evolutionarily speaking, the deck is stacked in the raven’s favor. They can live in a variety of habitats, from snow to desert to mountains to forests. They are scavengers with a huge diet that includes fish, meat, seeds, fruit, carrion, and garbage. They are not above tricking animals out of their food—one raven will distract the other animal, for example, and the other will steal its food. They have few predators and live a long time: 17 years in the wild and up to 40 years in captivity.

9. Ravens show empathy for each other.
Despite their mischievous nature, ravens seem capable of feeling empathy. When a raven’s friend loses in a fight, they will seem to console the losing bird. They also remember birds they like and will respond in a friendly way to certain birds for at least three years after seeing them. (They also respond negatively to enemies and suspiciously to strange ravens.) Although a flock of ravens is called an “unkindness,” the birds appear to be anything but.

10. Ravens roam around in teenage gangs.
Ravens mate for life and live in pairs in a fixed territory. When their children reach adolescence, they leave home and join gangs, like every human mother’s worst nightmare. These flocks of young birds live and eat together until they mate and pair off. Interestingly, living among teenagers seems to be stressful for the raven. Scientists have found higher levels of stress hormones in teenage raven droppings than in the droppings of mated adults. It’s never easy being a teenage rebel."
ravens  corvids  classideas  birds  animals  behavior  myth  myths  2016  play  intelligence  ants  tools  empathy  toys  adaptability  gestures  communication 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Toykit – Undercommoning
“You can either talk about it as having a kind of toolbox or also talk about it as having a kind of toy- box. With my kids, most of what they do with toys is turn them into props. They are constantly involved in this massive project of pretending. And the toys that they have are props for their pretending. They don’t play with them the right way – a sword is what you hit a ball with and a bat is what you make music with. I feel that way about [conceptual and theoretical] terms. In the end what’s most important is that the thing is put in play. What’s most important about play is the interaction… If you pick them up you can move into some new thinking and into a new set of relations, a new way of being together, thinking together. In the end, it’s the new way of being together and thinking together that’s important, and not the tool, not the prop. Or, the prop is important only insofar as it allows you to enter; but once you’re there, it’s the relation and the activity that’s really what you want to emphasize.” – Fred Moten
fredmoten  toolboxtheory  toolkits  toykits  toys  play  thinking  howwethink  interaction  relationships  relations  undercommons  pretending 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Sony’s New toio Wants to Inspire a Future Generation of Robotics Engineers | Spoon & Tamago
"Build, play, inspire. That’s the idea behind Sony’s new toy for kids, designed to inspire a future generation of robotics engineers. Toio is the result of 5 years of research into developing a toy that’s simple enough for kids to use, but also sophisticated enough to create a figurative sandbox where kids can explore the inner-workings of robotics engineering.

Toio, at first glance, is stunningly simple: the core of the toy is just 2 white cubes with wheels. But don’t be fooled by their appearance. The tiny cubes pack a whole lot of tech. They respond to motion, are able to detect the exact location of the other, and can be programmed but also remote controlled.

It would seem that the possibilities for toio are endless, which is why the developers teamed up with various creatives and designers to come up with various craft sets that help kids explore what robots can do. You can create your own robotic beast and battle others, you can play board games with them and you can make obstacle courses for them to go through. Sony has even teamed up with Lego for this project, allowing kids to build Lego structures on top of their robots.

But one of the most attractive features is a craft set designed by the folks behind the lovable PythagoraSwitch TV segment. It’s a simple paper set that encourages kids to join the two white cubes using paper. The cubes then interact with each other and come alive, resulting in different movements.

Check out the videos to get a better sense of what toio can do. Sony has released a limited quantity of toio sets that start at 21,557 yen (about $200 USD) and go up to 33,415 (about $300 USD) depending on how many craft sets you want to add on."

[Also here: http://prostheticknowledge.tumblr.com/post/161355896016/toio-programmable-robotics-toy-from-sony-uses ]
via:tealtan  robots  classideas  toys  learning  toio  sony  robotics  engineering  paper  lego 
june 2017 by robertogreco
The Fidget Spinner Explains the World - The Atlantic
"What is it for? The fidget spinner has been framed as just a toy—but also as a stress-relief tool, a classroom menace, a treatment for ADHD, and a possible salve to smartphone addiction, among other things.

Fidget spinners might or might not be any of those things, but at their core they are something more, and something stranger: the perfect material metaphor for everyday life in early 2017, for good and for ill."



"The top is not just one of the oldest toys, it is also one of the oldest artifacts of human civilization. Along with the earliest wheels, tops have been unearthed in ancient Mesopotamia dating back 5,500 years or more. The Egyptians had tops, too, some of which were found in the tomb of King Tut. Normally, a top is a toy requiring collaboration with the material world. It requires a substrate on which to spin, be it the hard earth of ancient Iraq or the molded-plastic IKEA table in a modern flat. As a toy, the top grounds physics, like a lightning rod grounds electricity. And in this collaboration, the material world always wins. Eventually, the top falls, succumbing to gravity, laying prone on the dirt.

Not so, the fidget spinner. It is a toy for the hand alone—for the individual. Ours is not an era characterized by collaboration between humans and earth—or Earth, for that matter. Whether through libertarian self-reliance or autarchic writ, human effort is first seen as individual effort—especially in the West. Bootstraps-thinking pervades the upper echelons of contemporary American life, from Silicon Valley to the White House. But it also underwrites more marginal plights. When some non-neurotypical fidget spinners shun scientific verification of the device’s therapeutic value, they do so by affirming their individual ability—and right—to self-diagnose and self-treat.

In this context, a top that spins in the hand is like a pocket orrery—a mechanical model of the heavens. The fidget spinner quietly attests that the solitary, individual body who spins it is sufficient to hold a universe. That’s not a counterpoint to the ideology of the smartphone, but an affirmation of that device’s worldview. What is real, and good, and interesting is what can be contained and manipulated in the hand, directly."



"Today, the internet-connected, global economy exerts influence like the electric light once did. Gizmos like the fidget spinner fuse just-in-time manufacturing, global logistics, marketing, retail, and publishing. They exist not to serve a purpose, like play or mental health, but to grease the machinery that fulfills the desire it also invents.

The same values that the fidget spinner symbolizes, like innovation and individualism, are supposed to produce a glorious future: life-extending technology, on-demand delivery, and hyperloop transit. But in truth, progress has ground to a halt. In its place: an infinite supply of gewgaws, whether apps or memes or tops. Each fashions a new itch, whose scratch offers a tiny, temporary relief that replaces broader comforts."
ianbogost  capitalism  distaction  2017  fidgetspinners  fidgeting  latecapitalism  fads  toys 
may 2017 by robertogreco
The Downward Slide of the Seesaw - The New York Times
"The two young brothers seesawed in Riverside Park recently, testing and tormenting each other, absorbed in a playground ritual familiar to generations of children.

What they did not know was that they were in one of the last places in New York City where they could seesaw. Once ubiquitous in the city’s hundreds of public playgrounds, as they were around the country, the seesaws adults remember have largely vanished from the city and much of the nation because of safety concerns and changing tastes.

The old wooden seesaws that pivot on a central fulcrum have survived in only one city park, park officials believe — the Classic Playground at Riverside Park at West 74th Street. And just north of there, at River Run Playground at West 83rd Street, are three metal fulcrum seesaws that were installed at the community’s request in the 1990s. They are lower and safer, rising only 32 inches off the rubber play mat at the highest point.

The history of New York City playgrounds is intertwined with the seesaw. Charity associations gave seesaw demonstrations when playgrounds were introduced at the turn of the 20th century. They were standard fixtures in the more than 600 playgrounds constructed between 1934 and 1960 under the direction of Robert Moses, along with monkey bars, sandboxes and slides, according to the city parks department.

But federal safety guidelines for playgrounds, which were created in 1981, began to limit their use. The older seesaws were wooden planks that often hit asphalt directly, leading to occasional tailbone and spinal injuries, falls and pinched fingers, not to mention splinters. Children could slam each other by dismounting suddenly. Playgrounds that retained old seesaws were exposed to lawsuits.

Current federal guidelines state that fulcrum seesaws can be installed safely if car tires are embedded under the seats and adequate space is left around them in case of a fall. But they are not recommended for toddlers or preschoolers, and they take up a lot of space. So the reaction to the guidelines in New York City, and many other places, was just to phase seesaws out.

[Photo: "An old wooden seesaw — a long board that pivots on a fulcrum — at the Classic Playground in Riverside Park. Credit Tess Mayer for The New York Times"]

In 2000, 55 percent of playgrounds around the nation had a seesaw, according to the National Program for Playground Safety, which makes estimates based on visits to about 3,000 parks. By 2004, that number was 11 percent. Seesaws were even less popular in schoolyards, declining from 13 percent in 2000 to 7 percent in 2004, the last year for which data was available.

As a result, relatively few playground injuries are now attributable to seesaws. According to data collected by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, which sets the safety standards, the top three pieces of equipment associated with emergency room visits between 2009 and 2014 were monkey bars, swings and slides. Only 2 percent of injuries were from teeter-totters.

Yet the seesaw remains paramount in the public consciousness, along with swings and slides, as a playground staple. The universal sign for a playground — the image on a road sign warning that a playground is near — is usually of two stick figures on a seesaw. And seesaws have retained fans.

Among them were parents watching their children play at River Run Playground recently. The three seesaws were in heavy use — parents balanced toddlers on the seats, older children whooshed each other skyward, and one father tried to stand in the middle of the seesaw and balance.

“We’re child-proofing childhood,” said Milanee Kapadia, when told that these seesaws were among the last in the city. One of her 4-year-old twins has special needs, and the seesaw, which requires cooperation and coordination, is just the kind of equipment her therapists recommend. So she comes regularly. “One little fall or a tooth broken and the next thing you know they are out,” she said.

Marissa Dennis watched as her boys Kale, 8, and Asher, 6, slipped off the seesaw and banged each other down as hard as they could. She was nervous, but neither boy was hurt, because the seesaw ends hit tires embedded in the soft play mat.

[Photo: "A seesaw at Blackwell playground on Roosevelt Island has a more modern design. Credit An Rong Xu for The New York Times"]

“I think we have to take the kids out a little bit from the safety bubble,” she said, placing her 2-year-old daughter, Sadie, on a seesaw too.

Traditional seesaws have other supporters, including occupational and physical therapists, who have noted with concern the increasing number of children who have problems regulating themselves emotionally and physically as childhood becomes more sedentary.

“To adults, seesaws might look like an accident waiting to happen,” said Lauren Drobnjak, a physical therapist in Cleveland and co-author of the book “Sensory Processing 101.” But “by rapidly moving the child through vertical space,” she said, seesaws provide input to a child’s vestibular — or balance regulation — system “in a way that no other playground equipment can.” And children learn strength and coordination when they hit the ground and push themselves back up.

“A seemingly simple plaything actually provides so many important sensory experiences for kids,” she said.

In some places, the seesaw has not gone out of style. A spokesman for the best-known manufacturer of a metal traditional-style seesaw, SportsPlay, based in St. Louis, said that the company still sells “a lot of seesaws.” AAA State of Play, a playground equipment supplier in Greenfield, Ind., said that seesaws remained popular with schools, parks and homeowner associations in smaller towns and cities.

“We actually sold some to a group of people who were in their early 70s,” Nancy Breedlove, one of the owners of AAA State of Play, said. “And I said, ‘Oh, is this for your grandkids?’ And she said, ‘No, we like to go out there and relive our youth and have cocktails.’”

[Photo: "Seesaws in Central Park in 1953. Credit Bettmann, via Getty Images
In New York City, the old fulcrum seesaws were replaced over time by newer styles of equipment, like multilevel structures that integrate slides and climbing walls."]

The main reason was safety. “New York City Parks has not installed seesaws for at least 30 years due to safety concerns,” said a spokesman, Sam Biederman.

But there were exceptions. One was in River Run Playground, which was able to install the metal seesaws in a 1990s renovation because the community requested it, said Nancy Prince, deputy chief for design at the city parks department.

And there have been attempts at more futuristic versions of the seesaw over the decades, such as a standing seesaw at Ciccarone Park in the Bronx that was installed in 2007 but has since broken, and a crescent-shaped modern version at Melrose Playground in the Bronx that remains in use.

Another reason seesaws remain rare is that equipment that moves is very hard to maintain in crowded city parks, Ms. Prince said.

But the seesaw’s fortunes may be on the rise.

Last month, Central Park unveiled its first take on the seesaw in decades — something called a spring rider seesaw — at a newly renovated playground on West 84th Street. At its center are two large springs, which means children cannot plunk each other to the ground. Other city playgrounds have experimented with spring rockers, which move up and down slightly.

Lane Addonizio, who plans playgrounds for the Central Park Conservancy, said she believed the return of an old-fashioned fulcrum seesaw might not be far behind.

“The more we live with the safety standards, the more you see people kind of innovating to bring back types of experiences that maybe for a while you weren’t seeing,” she said. “There’s no reason to think we won’t have traditional seesaws in the park at some point.”"
play  toys  seesaws  playgrounds  safety  fear  2016  sharonotterman  change  children  parenting  childhood  via:alexandralange 
december 2016 by robertogreco
An Airborne Village of Stacking Vertical Homes at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum | Colossal
"Sky Villages, designed by James Paulius, is an interactive installation at the SPARK Brooklyn Children’s Museum. The play center features several stackable modules that can be rearranged as expanding homes—wooden dwellings floating between clouds in an aquamarine sky. The imaginative play area aims to educate children about our planet’s constantly evolving population, offering a space for airborne ideas.

“As Earth’s population increases, we may look to the atmosphere for inhabitable space,” said Paulius. “Sky Villages presents the possibility to dwell in the sky in modular architecture that can be added or removed as populations increase or decrease. Dwelling units are prefabricated with the intent of reuse rather than discardment. When a unit no longer fits the particular needs of its location, it can be moved elsewhere for a new family to reside in. Constantly evolving, these structures accommodate the ever-changing tendencies of humanity and nature.”

The toy homes for Sky Villages were fabricated from wood reclaimed from water towers in Manhattan. You can see more of Paulius’ block-based projects on his portfolio site and Instagram."
sfsh  play  toys  blocks  jamespaulius  modular  evolvinglogos  humanity  nature  cities  architecture  design 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Maths Gear - Mathematical toys and curiosities - Mathematical curiosities, games and gifts
"We are Steve Mould, Matt Parker and James Grime.

We do maths shows, and people are always asking where they can buy the stuff from our shows. How disappointing to be told that it's all hand made and can't be bought! That's why we decided to start making things in bulk and selling them.

Matt and Steve started Maths Gear in 2011. James joined soon after and continues to feed the website will new toys like the Grime Dice and the Utilities Mug.

The shop is steadily growing as we add more hard-to-find mathematical curiosities, so if you have any ideas let us know:

contact@mathsgear.co.uk

And if you want to be kept up-to-date as we add new stuff, join the mailing list to the right.

If you're interested in our maths shows, take a look at these DVDs."

[previously: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:702706055cb6 ]

[specifically:

"Shapes of constant width – set of 4"
https://mathsgear.co.uk/products/shapes-of-constant-width-in-acrylic-set-of-4?variant=290972516

"Solids of constant width"
https://mathsgear.co.uk/products/solids-of-constant-width

Dice:
https://mathsgear.co.uk/collections/dice

"Go First Dice"
https://mathsgear.co.uk/collections/games/products/go-first-dice

"Recast 2d6"
https://mathsgear.co.uk/collections/dice/products/recast-2d6

"Skew dice - d6"
https://mathsgear.co.uk/collections/dice/products/skew-dice

"Non transitive Grime dice"
https://mathsgear.co.uk/products/non-transitive-grime-dice

"D120 dice"
https://mathsgear.co.uk/collections/dice/products/d120-dice ]
math  mathematics  classideas  toys  curiosities  dice  sfsh 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Life’s a Snap! | New Republic
"This is, even to the most cynical observer, a surprising business move. Snapchat started out as an app known primarily for sexting, then for taking up hours in an average teen’s day, and most recently for its inventive, weird filters and celebrity feuds. But while a software company moving into hardware isn’t unprecedented—Facebook is now making virtual reality headsets, and who can forget Google Glass?—Snap’s move is also less unexpected when you consider that the company’s overarching goal is to occupy attention and become a key way to communicate. The Snapchat app, for example, has blended both messaging and news in the same container, with users flipping back and forth between both. In essence, Snap hopes to replace both texting and TV with a weird hybrid of the two.

Spectacles alone is unlikely to achieve that ambitious aim. What a product like Spectacles might do, however, is help set the stage for a world in which images and video—already dominant online—are the default mode of communication, period. With a pair of glasses that records video from a user’s perspective, Snap is hoping to create a new cultural form—a deeply social form of photography and video that will form a buzzing, connective background for our lives.


Whenever one of the big tech companies does something radical, it often reveals something about its ambitions. Facebook is always trying to install itself as the default for existing behaviors, hoping to replace texting with their Messenger app or news websites with their news feed. Snap’s plans for Spectacles are more experimental and weird, but just as far-reaching in their ultimate goal. A pair of camera-glasses aimed at teens isn’t itself meant to meant to become the next iPhone—partly because in the short term the glasses can’t have the same broad appeal as a smartphone that does hundreds of things, and partly because, even at $130, they’re a bit cheap and plasticky. In the Wall Street Journal piece that broke the news about Spectacles, Spiegel referred to the glasses as “a toy.”

It would be a mistake, however, to think toy means unserious. “[T]he future of technology,” mobile analyst Benedict Evans is fond of saying, “has always looked like a pretty toy to people comfortable with the past.” Snapchat’s greatest strength is that its same toy-like nature encourages playfulness and a lack of careful curation. Snapchat videos are often rough and unorchestrated, an effect of the fact that they self-delete after 24 hours. That focus on nowness is also at the heart of Spectacles. As Spiegel argues of a test of Spectacles on a trip to Big Sur, “It’s one thing to see images of an experience you had, but it’s another thing to have an experience of the experience. It was the closest I’d ever come to feeling like I was there again.”

There’s an alluring immediacy to this. It’s not hard to imagine using Spectacles to send short clips of a party to a sick friend who had to stay home, or picturesque views from a vacation to friends who are stuck at work. These kinds of moments are what digital does best: to produce a kind of proxy or cyborg self that you can beam into other lives. Snapchat the app is already good at that, and Spectacles first-person view promises only to heighten it.

The aim seems less to turn Snap into a new hardware behemoth than to instill, in both American and global culture, the Snap mentality of that constant social connective tissue. A pair of Spectacles and a smartphone, Spiegel argues, let you “share your experience of the world while also seeing everyone else’s experience of the world, everywhere, all the time.”

Just as the book and television changed how we think and relate to the world, so too does the vision of the persistent connectivity of social photography. Each major shift in media since the invention of writing has produced an internalization of that mode. Just writing gave mankind an urge to both document history and diarize our thoughts; a camera on one’s brow beckons a kind of persistent documentary eye, making one forever ready to find something “Snappable.” The sheer satisfaction that comes from a visual record of moments also can induce a compulsion to get that same neurochemical hit of attention and affirmation again. It’s not an inherently negative thing—the eye of others is always with us, psychologically, even when we’re offline—but there is perhaps an intensification of that feeling that comes with the further technologization of that phenomenon.

Of course, economic concerns drive the invention of new tech products: Snap wants to profit from Spectacles. Spiegel’s circuitous language of “an experience of an experience” is not just about enjoying a fun moment again, but how one experiences that memory—in what form, in whose app, under what conditions. That is: the aesthetics and interface of the app itself are part and parcel of the remembering, and as we already know from Snapchat, its capacity to hold attention makes it an ideal place for advertisers looking for eyeballs in a fragmented world. This being the twenty-first century, a new cultural form—the Twitter feed, the cloud photo album, or the Facebook status update—is also a venue for ads, a place to both connect with others and connect with brands.

Spectacles thus herald future in which the image not only becomes the default mode of social communication, but that who controls that image—from production to experience, from which camera to which app are used to send and view it—has a significant impact on both messaging and society at large. Though the social aspects of Spectacles are compelling, there is also a more worrying side: the constant self-surveillance, and in what form all those images will be put to use.

Consider: On Monday night, just a couple of days after the announcement of Spectacles, the first of the American presidential debates took place. Snapchat often creates geofilters for specific places or events that reflect something about them, and for the debate it released one by the Trump campaign. It was the first nationwide political filter, and it allowed users to take a selfie with the caption “Debate Day: Donald J. Trump vs. Crooked Hillary.” It’s not that Snapchat was unique in being a platform used to disseminate Trump’s rhetoric; all media does it, and no-one was forced to use the filter to send snaps to their friends. Rather, it was that Snapchat’s desire to use filters as a revenue stream was just one more way for Trump to spread his own brash brand of politicking. Snapchat’s users were thus transformed into more than simply people chatting. When someone else controls the way we communicate, sending one kind of message can often lead to sending quite another."
navneetalang  snap  snapchat  snapspectacles  communication  socialmedia  photography  video  internet  psychology  toys  play  googleglass  evanspiegel  technology  imagery  perspective  pov 
october 2016 by robertogreco
67 Years of Lego Sets
"There are many of us—errr, people—who build stuff with Legos at all ages. Having grown up with loads of hand-me-down Legos (and having a Lego Wall-E sitting on my desk right now), I started to wonder how Legos evolved from the sets I remember from my childhood to what they are today.

As an analyst, I turned to data for answers. I found a dataset on Rebrickable (a site that shows you which Lego sets you can build from the sets and pieces you already own), which contained information on the color, number, and type of pieces in each Lego set for the past 67 years. I used Plotly and Mode Python Notebooks to explore the data."
lego  data  toys 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Why, O, Why! | Design, research, and retail of products for children
"Children are curious creatures. They are naturally drawn to new things, and it is their innate ability to be in constant wonder. We believe that the word ‘why’ — though simple and easily articulated — is very powerful. We love how it opens up opportunities for discovery, and above all, how the joy of these little discoveries can be shared with others."



"Why, O, Why! (w,o,w!) is a space for design, research, and retail of products focusing on encouraging creativity and imagination in children. We develop play objects, publications, activities, and workshops to create and facilitate meaningful interactions and play experiences.

Why, O, Why! is an initiative by Pupilpeople (Pp.)."



"Why, O, Why! workshops are a series of art and design activity sessions for children, a physical space dedicated to cultivating curiosity and the joy of discovery.

Each of the workshop series focuses on a particular ‘material’ that is versatile enough to allow for a wide range of visually and haptically rich, hands-on, and playful experiences through guided yet child-directed explorations. Other than the learning possibilities each workshop series offer, we hope to leave behind an independent approach and process to learning and discovery, and to encourage the development of interests specific to each child."
pupilpeople  design  lcproject  openstudioproject  sfsh  wonder  children  why  discovery  learning  howwelearn  joy  creativity  imagination  materials  paper  blocks  toys  classideas  workshops 
july 2016 by robertogreco
The Dramatic Ways Having Kids Can Change Your Design PracticeEye on Design | Eye on Design
"When the founders of Pupilpeople became parents two years ago, the graphic designers struggled to find quality toys for their baby boy. Disappointed with gimmicky, plasticky gadgets, unsafe and overly-instructive playthings, Sean Kelvin Khoo and Nicole Ong designed their own toys for little Elias instead.

This gave birth to OddBlocks, a set of eight cubes that each unpack into three curious objects. An off-kilter semi-circle, an asymmetrical rectangle and a trapezoid with a chewed-off top are just some of the 24 odd-shaped toys created to help children build from their imagination and discover new shapes and forms.

“A toy is meant to be played with, but a lot of times what we saw in the market was that the product became an educational tool,” explains Khoo. “It’s very Singaporean; everything must [be used to] train my child to be a genius… to be good at maths, good at physics…”

While agreeing that children learnt best through play, the young parents wanted to be less prescriptive in their designs. What started as an open-ended graphic puzzle turned into a three-dimensional product when their studio designer Kong Wen Da roped in industrial designer Jamie Yeo to help. The quartet came up with a sleek plastic prototype in less than half a year, but after testing it with Elias they realized its weight and sharp corners were inappropriate for children. Unlike the “cold” plastic, cork proved a lighter and more environmentally sustainable alternative. The designers were also delighted to discover this made the blocks ideal for printmaking.

Printmaking is just one of several functions that Pupilpeople have found for OddBlocks, and used workshops they conduct under their new initiative Why, O, Why! (w, o, w!), a design school for kids where the eight-year-old studio is developing more products and experiences to nurture creativity in children. For Ong, this is a baby step towards her dream of running a childcare center to address the lack of play and joy in learning among children in Singapore. Growing up, Ong hardly recalls playing, and was creatively stumped the first time she played Lego with Elias. “I was like, ‘Build what? What can I do with it?’” Watching her son have fun building whatever he imagined helped Ong learn that play could establish a sense of discovery. “Is it the children’s fault for not enjoying [what they do] or is it our fault for not exposing themselves enough to find what they love?” she asks.

This also explains Pupilpeople’s recent shift from client work to design education. Khoo discovered a love for teaching when he signed up to lecture part-time 2011. Three years later, the arrival of a Risograph printer in the studio enabled him to experiment with teaching outside of design school. Inspired by overseas initiatives such as the ad-hoc Parallel School, which focuses on art and design as a process, Khoo, Ong and their designer, Kong, founded Areas of Interest to conduct workshops based on the philosophy of “making as a way of thinking”. In one early class, they challenged participants to design and produce printed matter within the limitations of Risograph technology.

“We wanted to create a platform where people could do things that were not typically what we see as design output, and we were trying to challenge what design is,” he explains.

From this year onwards, Khoo will be conducting his experiments on a large scale as a full-time lecturer at Singapore’s pioneering design college, Temasek Design School. While excited by the possibilities that lie ahead, Khoo refuses to tie himself down to a desired outcome and stresses how discovery will continue to be at the heart of both practising and teaching design.

“Design is a form of play,” he says. “Rather than a didactic way of teaching… trying to make clones of myself, I’m trying to discover each individual student’s unique disposition, their own individuality.”"
design  singapore  2016  pupilpeople  sfsh  toys  graphicdesign  seankelvinkhoo  nicoleong  oddblocks  teaching  printmaking  classideas  wood  cork  risograph  proces  thinking  making  howweteach  howwelearn  education  learning  schools  children  process 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Serious Fun - Herman Miller
"Taking inspiration from the humble cardboard box, Ray and Charles Eames created toys and furniture to spark the imaginations of kids and grown-ups alike."
eames  toys  rayeames  charleseeames  alexandralange  play  children  design 
june 2016 by robertogreco
The Minecraft Generation - The New York Times
"Seth Frey, a postdoctoral fellow in computational social science at Dartmouth College, has studied the behavior of thousands of youths on Minecraft servers, and he argues that their interactions are, essentially, teaching civic literacy. “You’ve got these kids, and they’re creating these worlds, and they think they’re just playing a game, but they have to solve some of the hardest problems facing humanity,” Frey says. “They have to solve the tragedy of the commons.” What’s more, they’re often anonymous teenagers who, studies suggest, are almost 90 percent male (online play attracts far fewer girls and women than single-­player mode). That makes them “what I like to think of as possibly the worst human beings around,” Frey adds, only half-­jokingly. “So this shouldn’t work. And the fact that this works is astonishing.”

Frey is an admirer of Elinor Ostrom, the Nobel Prize-­winning political economist who analyzed the often-­unexpected ways that everyday people govern themselves and manage resources. He sees a reflection of her work in Minecraft: Running a server becomes a crash course in how to compromise, balance one another’s demands and resolve conflict.

Three years ago, the public library in Darien, Conn., decided to host its own Minecraft server. To play, kids must acquire a library card. More than 900 kids have signed up, according to John Blyberg, the library’s assistant director for innovation and user experience. “The kids are really a community,” he told me. To prevent conflict, the library installed plug-ins that give players a chunk of land in the game that only they can access, unless they explicitly allow someone else to do so. Even so, conflict arises. “I’ll get a call saying, ‘This is Dasher80, and someone has come in and destroyed my house,’ ” Blyberg says. Sometimes library administrators will step in to adjudicate the dispute. But this is increasingly rare, Blyberg says. “Generally, the self-­governing takes over. I’ll log in, and there’ll be 10 or 15 messages, and it’ll start with, ‘So-and-so stole this,’ and each message is more of this,” he says. “And at the end, it’ll be: ‘It’s O.K., we worked it out! Disregard this message!’ ”

Several parents and academics I interviewed think Minecraft servers offer children a crucial “third place” to mature, where they can gather together outside the scrutiny and authority at home and school. Kids have been using social networks like Instagram or Snapchat as a digital third place for some time, but Minecraft imposes different social demands, because kids have to figure out how to respect one another’s virtual space and how to collaborate on real projects.

“We’re increasingly constraining youth’s ability to move through the world around them,” says Barry Joseph, the associate director for digital learning at the American Museum of Natural History. Joseph is in his 40s. When he was young, he and his friends roamed the neighborhood unattended, where they learned to manage themselves socially. Today’s fearful parents often restrict their children’s wanderings, Joseph notes (himself included, he adds). Minecraft serves as a new free-­ranging realm.

Joseph’s son, Akiva, is 9, and before and after school he and his school friend Eliana will meet on a Minecraft server to talk and play. His son, Joseph says, is “at home but still getting to be with a friend using technology, going to a place where they get to use pickaxes and they get to use shovels and they get to do that kind of building. I wonder how much Minecraft is meeting that need — that need that all children have.” In some respects, Minecraft can be as much social network as game.

Just as Minecraft propels kids to master Photoshop or video-­editing, server life often requires kids to acquire complex technical skills. One 13-year-old girl I interviewed, Lea, was a regular on a server called Total Freedom but became annoyed that its administrators weren’t clamping down on griefing. So she asked if she could become an administrator, and the owners said yes.

For a few months, Lea worked as a kind of cop on that beat. A software tool called “command spy” let her observe records of what players had done in the game; she teleported miscreants to a sort of virtual “time out” zone. She was eventually promoted to the next rank — “telnet admin,” which allowed her to log directly into the server via telnet, a command-­line tool often used by professionals to manage servers. Being deeply involved in the social world of Minecraft turned Lea into something rather like a professional systems administrator. “I’m supposed to take charge of anybody who’s breaking the rules,” she told me at the time.

Not everyone has found the online world of Minecraft so hospitable. One afternoon while visiting the offices of Mouse, a nonprofit organization in Manhattan that runs high-tech programs for kids, I spoke with Tori. She’s a quiet, dry-­witted 17-year-old who has been playing Minecraft for two years, mostly in single-­player mode; a recent castle-­building competition with her younger sister prompted some bickering after Tori won. But when she decided to try an online server one day, other players — after discovering she was a girl — spelled out “BITCH” in blocks.

She hasn’t gone back. A group of friends sitting with her in the Mouse offices, all boys, shook their heads in sympathy; they’ve seen this behavior “everywhere,” one said. I have been unable to find solid statistics on how frequently harassment happens in Minecraft. In the broader world of online games, though, there is more evidence: An academic study of online players of Halo, a shoot-’em-up game, found that women were harassed twice as often as men, and in an unscientific poll of 874 self-­described online gamers, 63 percent of women reported “sex-­based taunting, harassment or threats.” Parents are sometimes more fretful than the players; a few told me they didn’t let their daughters play online. Not all girls experience harassment in Minecraft, of course — Lea, for one, told me it has never happened to her — and it is easy to play online without disclosing your gender, age or name. In-game avatars can even be animals.

How long will Minecraft’s popularity endure? It depends very much on Microsoft’s stewardship of the game. Company executives have thus far kept a reasonably light hand on the game; they have left major decisions about the game’s development to Mojang and let the team remain in Sweden. But you can imagine how the game’s rich grass-roots culture might fray. Microsoft could, for example, try to broaden the game’s appeal by making it more user-­friendly — which might attenuate its rich tradition of information-­sharing among fans, who enjoy the opacity and mystery. Or a future update could tilt the game in a direction kids don’t like. (The introduction of a new style of combat this spring led to lively debate on forums — some enjoyed the new layer of strategy; others thought it made Minecraft too much like a typical hack-and-slash game.) Or an altogether new game could emerge, out-­Minecrafting Minecraft.

But for now, its grip is strong. And some are trying to strengthen it further by making it more accessible to lower-­income children. Mimi Ito has found that the kids who acquire real-world skills from the game — learning logic, administering servers, making YouTube channels — tend to be upper middle class. Their parents and after-­school programs help them shift from playing with virtual blocks to, say, writing code. So educators have begun trying to do something similar, bringing Minecraft into the classroom to create lessons on everything from math to history. Many libraries are installing Minecraft on their computers."
2016  clivethompson  education  videogames  games  minecraft  digitalculture  gaming  mimiito  robinsloan  coding  computationalthinking  stem  programming  commandline  ianbogost  walterbenjamin  children  learning  resilience  colinfanning  toys  lego  wood  friedrichfroebel  johnlocke  rebeccamir  mariamontessori  montessori  carltheodorsorensen  guilds  mentoring  mentorship  sloyd  denmark  construction  building  woodcrafting  woodcraft  adventureplaygrounds  material  logic  basic  mojang  microsoft  markuspersson  notch  modding  photoshop  texturepacks  elinorostrom  collaboration  sethfrey  civics  youtube  networkedlearning  digitalliteracy  hacking  computers  screentime  creativity  howwelearn  computing  froebel 
april 2016 by robertogreco
Magnetic Letters Taught Us More Than How to Spell
"Psychologists are still studying “colored hearing.” They call it synesthesia, and it’s expanded to include more than just colors associated with hearing a letter spoken out loud. Associations between letters and colors are the most common form of synesthesia, but you can also get associations between numbers and colors, sounds and smells, even swimming styles and colors.

In 2012, Nathan Witthoft, then a Ph.D. student in psychology at MIT, put group of synesthetes through a series of color-matching tests. During the course of the study, he noticed something odd.  “For this one person, every sixth letter was the same color,” he said. “When I asked them why, they said they had learned it from this toy”—specifically, from the plastic letters included in Fisher-Price’s School Days Desk playset.

Today, those plastic letters are at the center of a scientific debate over what synesthesia is and how it begins. For more than a century scientists have been asking how synesthetes’ brains make connections between colors and letters. Now, it turns out that question could have implications for everyone—how we learn and how we remember.

The School Days Desk came out in 1972. It was one of the first projects toy designer Victor Reiling worked on for Fisher-Price. Just a couple years before, Reiling had been the captain of a Navy ship stationed off the coast of Vietnam."
synesthesia  children  childhood  2016  psychology  colors  toys  letters  words  maggiekoerth-baker  marycalkins  nathanwitthoft 
march 2016 by robertogreco
CHARACTER MODEL
"Concept Character Art, Character Model Sheets from Games, Movies, Comics, Toys and Animation. Some good Fanart too."
tumblrs  art  characterdesign  comics  television  film  animation  games  videogames  gaming  toys  via:robinsloan 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Japan's Minimalist Version of Lego Is Actually Awesome | WIRED
"I’M GOING TO say something blasphemous: Lego bricks are ugly.

Don’t get me wrong. The little Danish building blocks have plenty of inner beauty, sure, and are one of the 20th century’s most enduring designs. They can be infinitely reconfigured, which means kids’ ideas about design can be endlessly reconfigured as well. Famous architects have said they do what they do because of Lego. Nevertheless, the plastic bricks are not pretty.

Tsumiki bricks, on the other hand, are lovely. Tokyo architecture firm Kengo Kuma and Associates made them with forest conservation organization More Trees, and bills them as “Japanese Lego.” Unlike Lego bricks, which are plastic, Tsumiki pieces are made of Japanese cedar (and manufactured using wood certified by the Forest Stewardship). And unlike the brick-shaped Lego blocks, each Tsumiki block is shaped like an inverted “V.” Triangular notches in the legs let the Tsumiki blocks wedge together, making them versatile like Lego bricks, albeit not as sturdy; some of the assembly models shown in Kuma’s Tsumiki brochure look about as solid as a house of cards. More Trees sells the blocks through its site, for about $70 a kit.

Still, Kuma—recently selected to build Japan’s 2020 Olympic stadium chosen—has created a clever spin on an age-old kind of Japanese toy. Tsumiki translates directly to “blocks,” and most traditional Tsumiki are exactly that—cubical, cylindrical, or pyramid-shaped blocks with way of latching together. Kuma’s Tsumiki are triangular, for the strength that this shape provides. All told, these popsicle stick-like blocks are much more in line with the principles of contemporary Japanese architecture than their predecessors: They’re natural in material, spatially economical, and relentlessly simple. Perfect for inspiring Japan’s next generation of architects."

[via: https://www.instagram.com/p/BBAmKfjtopJ/ ]
design  wood  toys  play  japan  lego  kengokuma  tsumiki  building  blocks 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Rigamajig - YouTube
"Rigamajig is a new large-scale building kit for children conceived for hands-on, free play and learning. This collection of wooden planks, wheels, pulleys, nuts and bolts allow children to follow their curiosity while playing, and explore concepts in science, engineering, and art."

[See also: http://casholman.com/PROJECTS/RIGAMAJIG
http://rigamajig.com/
https://www.fastcodesign.com/3048508/the-case-for-letting-kids-design-their-own-play ]
toys  construction  casholman  play 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Cas Holman; Identity in Play - YouTube
"Cas Holman talks about the inspiration behind her work designing for play, education, creativity and childhood. She explains the link between play and identity and the importance of imagination in both. Cas is a Professor of Industrial Design at RISD. Video by Jason Greene."

[See also: http://casholman.com/About-Cas-1
https://www.fastcodesign.com/3048508/the-case-for-letting-kids-design-their-own-play ]

[via: http://tumblr.austinkleon.com/post/124594623136 ]
casholman  toys  play  gender  identity  education  childhood  children  via:austinkleon  design 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Our RISD — Playing for Keeps
"Children in eastern China are taking the notion of learning through play to new heights, according to Associate Professor of Industrial Design Cas Holman, who has been collaborating with educator Cheng Xueqin to design tools for kids that complement her vision for learning. Over the past 14 years, Cheng has developed a comprehensive play-driven educational model for China that is being used to incredible effect in 120 public preschools in Anji County.

“Anji Play is about joy and agency and allowing kids to develop as whole people,” says Holman. “The play is completely child-directed; teachers don’t even prompt them about what to build. When playtime is over, the children draw ‘play stories’ to visually communicate what they made and what questions they were trying to answer.”

Holman observed the system in action during a trip to China last month and plans to return in August to work with factory directors on creating a core set of high-quality materials – ladders, barrels, blocks and the like – with consistent specs. She’s also working with Cheng’s team to help adapt the model for use in the US and other western countries.    

The approach to play at these Chinese preschools is one Holman has long advocated for through her own work. As she notes in this newly posted opinion piece for Fast Company, “The ideal toy for a child is not a toy at all but something they’ve appropriated for play.”

[Direct link to video: https://vimeo.com/120218237 ]

[See also: https://www.fastcodesign.com/3048508/the-case-for-letting-kids-design-their-own-play ]
play  children  china  kindergarten  schools  education  casholman  chengxuegin  design  schooldesign  toys  student-directedlearning  reggioemilia  via:ablerism  roleplaying  preschool  anjiplay  anji 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Hackaball - A computer you can throw by Hackaball — Kickstarter
"Hackaball is a smart and responsive ball that children can program to invent and play games."

"Hackaball is a smart and responsive ball that children can program using an iPad app to invent and play games.

It's for kids aged 6 to 10 but we’ve seen younger children have fun with Hackaball with a little help from their siblings or parents.

How does it work?

The computer inside Hackaball has sensors that detect motions like being dropped, bounced, kicked, shaken or being perfectly still. Children hack the ball with an iPad app which allows them to go in and change the behaviour of Hackaball to do what they want.

The paired iPad app comes pre-loaded with several games that can be sent to Hackaball to get kids started. Once they've mastered these initial games, kids can create brand new ones using a simple building block interface, experimenting with Hackaball's sounds, LED lighting effects and rumble patterns. You can install the app on as many iPads as you like, it's free! "
hackaball  balls  2015  ios  ipad  play  games  gaming  outdoors  toys  classideas  gamedesign 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Lots of Cases of Synesthesia Are Based on Alphabet Magnets
"Although the first description of synesthesia dates back to ancient Greece, researchers still don’t know what causes some people to perceive two senses at the same time. Previous studies have shown that, surprisingly, it may be a learned association: a certain Fisher-Price alphabet magnet set manufactured from 1971-1990 directly maps onto some adult synesthetes’ color associations. In the current study, researchers wanted to see just how widespread this similarity was."
synesthesia  childhood  children  toys  2015 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Interview: Toy Story That Time Forgot star Wallace Shawn on the series anti-decadence message
"HitFix: With your writing as sort of a constant presence in your life, have the things that compel you to act – have they changed over the years?

Wallace Shawn: Well it’s hard to say. I certainly would be excited by the thought of a good part or a good project and I suppose that’s always been true. I mean obviously I have a craving for a bourgeois lifestyle or middle class lifestyle and so it’s exciting to be asked to do some work and be paid for it because that enables me to lead the bourgeois lifestyle that I can’t seem to wean myself away from. So yes, people... Yes, I mean what can I say? Working is something that I appreciate.

HitFix: Do you feel like you’re more drawn to that, as you say, bourgeois lifestyle now than you were 20 years ago? Was the balance at one point being drawn more to the art or to something else I guess?

Wallace Shawn: No. I’ve always really wanted to – when I say "wanted" I’ve always had an addiction to a bourgeois lifestyle and I don’t live very differently from the way I’ve always lived. It’s just a question of can you pay the bills or not. The bills themselves, give or take inflation what have you, are not tremendously different from one year to the next in my life. And my life is not terribly different.

HitFix: Do you ever stand back and look at sort of the themes of the "Toy Story" movies and the franchise and how that relates to consumerism and your own feelings on that culture?

Wallace Shawn: Well the film shows a middle class household. Well, Andy’s household, and Bonnie’s household is also a middle class household, so there’s definitely in this short film there is a – the young boy that Bonnie goes to visit seems to be a bit decadent and to have an outrageous number of toys, more than he’s using and there’s a certain statement there that this is excessive. And he doesn’t even play with those toys because in the film he’s watching video games or playing video games.

HitFix: And do you think that this is a message that kids get out of it as well or is it just something that you can take away yourself?

Wallace Shawn: No I think that a kid would take away the same thing I do. There’s something disturbing about the scene in that boy’s house and of course the whole idea of playing which is so emphasized in all of the films is kind of about finding satisfaction in your own imagination, which is helped along by these material objects, toys. But the basic idea is that you can have quite a lot of fun based on your own fantasies and, in fact, in this particular short film that is contrasted with the world of the violent toys, who get fun only out of crushing each other and conquering each other. The little Pixar gang is much more gentle and innocent and they get pleasure from fantasy."
2014  wallaceshawn  via:maxfenton  interviews  toystory  children  consumerism  imagination  toys  oneandonly  glvo  possessions  excess  consumption  play  fantasy  materialism  waste 
december 2014 by robertogreco
The Uses of Art: Little Beasts | The American Reader
"Let us in our imaginations allow all this critique and disappointment to raze participatory art to the ground. Let us do away with it along with the other outmoded utopias. We live now in a world so saturated with the engagement (post, snap, tweet, comment, yo) that even commenting on that situation has become superfluous. We might think of ourselves as in a post-participatory condition. In mood, there is little hope. Change occurs as fitfully as it always has. Personal transformation passes through us convulsively, but cure eludes.

If we destroy as much as we can, oddly, the sense of possibility pokes back up, stems of quackgrass in the rubble of a vacant lot. Pretty soon we have a post-apocalyptic grove of frondy locust trees to contend with. There is something stubborn and persistent that remains, some reason that people keep trying to do this impossible thing.

Participatory art survives and not just on the margins. The less hope we have for art’s political and social efficacy, the more hyper-optimistic work appears and proliferates, under new names and old: Durational Performance, Neo-situationism, Intervention, Social Practice, Socially Engaged Art. Sometimes it’s just called “art.” Often it takes the form of “projects” which try to escape claims in relation to art history or art discourse.

Whatever we think of its chances, participatory art is an explicit antidote to the extreme narcissism of the ordinary material work of art. Walking through white cubes it becomes obvious that the expensive celebrity objects in our museums and galleries do not need us. That’s what they proclaim in their serenity and their stillness. They exist outside of time, complete unto themselves. We are patient before them, ready to be affected, but we cannot affect them in turn. Landscapes shimmer, the depicted stare out, bodies present themselves for our gaze. But the artwork fundamentally doesn’t care whether we are moved or indifferent, aroused or disgusted. It doesn’t even care if we look at it or turn away. It is unchanged by ignorance, by knowing little nods, by crowds of swooners, by expert dismissals. It sails on through time, accepting its preservation, its custodial care, as its due."



"Clark, along with several contemporaries in the influential Brazilian Neo-concretist movement (Amilcar de Castro, Ferreira Gullar, Franz Weissmann, Lygia Pape, Reynaldo Jardim and Theon Spanudis) argued for an art that was “always in the present, always in the process of beginning over,” an art which brought back “a primal—total—experience of the real.” Beginning in 1960 with her series of Bichos (beasts), she made the leap from ordinary geometric abstraction to objects meant to be handled directly by the viewer."



"Clark and other participatory artists are part of a long tradition of demystification—of deliberate attempts to destroy the mana of the work of art by treating it casually, and in so doing to destroy the political gradient between the work and the viewer. In this way, participatory art aims to change the deep structure of the art experience.

To the extent an artwork signals its hierarchical relation to the viewer, to the extent to which it is considered more valuable (financially, absolutely) than the viewer, the form of relation it offers can overwhelm any subversive “content.”

Clark’s Bichos, by demanding touch and rearrangement, propose that art can move from icon or totem to toy. A toy acts intimately. A toy does not and cannot rule its player. It can only invite. As Johan Huizinga suggested in his classic Homo Ludens, play is a free activity. “Play to order is not play: it could at best be a forcible imitation of it.”

This, in potential, gives another register to my self-consciousness and my failure to fall immersively into play with Clark’s Bicho. Between me and the Bicho is a question, a field of possibilities. It is precisely in uncertainty, in the possibility of saying no, or being unable to play, that the desire for real relation can be discovered."



"As I move the plates and hinges she says: “You are the artist, you can make whatever you want.” Generally, this is a sentiment I like, but here it strikes me as missing something crucial. It encourages you to notice your own agency but obscures the curious counter-agency of the object in your hands.

Kids, she says, are better than adults.

“Better at playing?” I ask.

“They ask permission. The adults, if they push too hard, they could break the piece.”

Even though the guard is friendly, and easy with me, her watching makes it even harder to really play. I don’t feel like either an artist or a child."



"As the Sixties ended, Clark moved away from art and especially from museums and galleries. She shifted her work to a class she taught at the Sorbonne in Paris on gestural communication. There, she developed new “relational objects,” sensory prosthetics, and experimental rituals. Imagine a group of Sorbonne students enacting Baba Antropofagica (Anthropophagic Drool), unspooling thread from their mouths and layering a tangle of saliva covered strands over a fellow student, or picture them blindfolded and trying to eat a piece of fruit from a pouch of another student’s suit.

In the milieus of Paris and Rio, rich with psychoanalytic theory and practice, Clark began to call her work psychotherapy, and when she moved back to Rio de Janeiro in 1976 she worked privately with therapeutic participants in a project she called Estruturação do Self (Structuring the Self).

In the account of Suely Rolnik, who knew Clark and has written about her extensively, “[Clark] dedicated a room of her flat to a sort of installation, where she received each person individually for one-hour-long sessions one to three times a week over a period of months, and in some cases, even a period of years. The Relational Objects were the instruments conceived by the artist to touch the bodies of her ‘clients,’ as she referred to those who were available to experience this proposal. Naked, they would lay on one of those objects, the Grande Colchão (Large Mattress), and the session would begin.”

Although Clark called this private practice therapy, she also said that she never stopped being an artist. Estruturação do Self opens the possibility of a way of art which is not merely participatory, a form of art in which the body of the artist is copresent with the art object and with the participant in a mutual relation. Too intimate, perhaps, for most. When I imagine it, I keep picturing the sensation of being covered with drool-soaked strands."



"Clark says, “True participation is open and we will never be able to know what we give to the spectator-author. It is precisely because of this that I speak of a well, from inside which a sound would be taken, not by the you-well, but by the other, in the sense that he throws his own stone.”

My own stone falls as into a shallow street puddle. Thudplop.

The problem is one of time, and of giving in. I can’t seem to give into the Bicho’s time. Its movement, yes, its lived time, no. Maybe for others this lived time would emerge more easily. Perhaps if I were a child, the fascination of the changing forms would absorb me totally. Maybe they would become dreams and stories. I want them to.

It’s as if I need the Bicho to step forward like a pet and command my attention, butting my hand with its head. Yes, now, play with me, no, don’t stop petting, don’t stop throwing the ball."



"Wanting to walk with her, I rummage around my studio for a roll of adding machine paper, glue up some Möbius strips and go out for coffee while the glue dries. When I come back, I begin cutting. “Pierce,” says Clark, so I stab the paper with the open blade and start. My scissors aren’t the best, they’re sticky and the grip seems to be made for child aliens, but despite that I am soon in a rhythm of cutting. I think of the tiny blunt scissors I saw in the hands of visitors at MoMA. I cut and cut, going around. As you meet your original cut, where the scissors have torn awkwardly into the paper, there is a choice, cut to the right or the left. I go left and steer towards the edge, to preserve as much thickness as I can. As I come around to that mark a second time I realize I’ve mistaken the geometry for a loop, my left and right are now reversed, and I’ve saved nothing. Keep going. It is indeed a little like walking. And like making. There’s a shivery doubling or layering of experience—walking is making, making is playing, mine is hers. It doesn’t much matter in that moment whose the making is, Lygia Clark’s or mine. I know I’m not having as romantic an experience as she might hope for, but there, in my studio, as the ribbon of adding machine paper gets thinner and thinner in a geometry that quickly escapes my full imagining, something is happening that wouldn’t otherwise happen. From my scissors, a tangle that is one continuous piece of paper collects at my feet, a paradox object. The making of the object is not in service to the having of the object. There is a sense of going somewhere and nowhere at the same time. There is the hope of being able to go on forever as the paper narrows and narrows until one tiny slip severs the piece and you know you’re done."
salrandolph  art  participatory  lygiaclark  walking  sensoryprosthetics  glvo  babaantropofagica  play  making  doing  conversation  audiencesofone  toys  learning  touch  rearrangement  homoludens  possibility  possibilities  uncertainty  unfinished  demystification  interaction  taboo  situationist  socialpracticeart  performance  prosthetics 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Learning From Legos - NYTimes.com
"WHEN I was a boy, my father, an architect, attempted a no-toy policy, with the significant exception that he’d buy my brother and me almost anything — any birthday, holiday or restless rainy Saturday — as long as it was Lego.

And so, if I needed a gun, I made it with Legos. The same with a walkie-talkie. And a lie detector. And all the life-size artifacts — let’s face it, mostly weapons — that were then my heart’s desire. Plus every scale-model spaceship, supertruck, planetary fortress, recombinant Tyrannosaurus and transforming robot.

These days Lego — with its namesake movie’s opening weekend box office of $69 million, and with global sales revenue tripling, recession-proof, between 2007 and 2012 — appears to be something more than just a Danish construction toy based on snap-together plastic bricks. Some of the film’s success comes from the charm of its intrepid construction worker hero and goth-ninja heroine, both remarkably expressive despite the limitations of Lego figurines’ cylindrical heads and hands.

But the film’s celebration of adaptive improvisation and spontaneous mythmaking also resonates deeply with our current moment of so-called maker culture. Thanks to new rapid-prototyping technologies like computer numerical control milling and 3-D printing, we’ve seen a convergence between hacker and hipster, between high-tech coding and the low-tech artisanal craft behind everything from Etsy to Burning Man.

Whether it’s Google’s first server rack having been made of Lego-like bricks (pragmatically cheap, heat-resistant and reconfigurable) at Stanford in 1996, or the programmable Lego bricks developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Architecture Machine Group (later the Media Lab where, no coincidence, my father worked), Lego is literally built into the computational and architectural history of maker culture.

And it is, in a special way, an architectural history. “A small interior world of color and form now came within grasp of small fingers,” wrote Frank Lloyd Wright about his 9-year-old self in a 1943 autobiographical sketch. “These ‘Gifts’ came into the gray house” and “made something live here.” These were the famous Froebel Blocks, educational wooden building blocks in systematic shapes and sizes developed in the 1840s by Friedrich Froebel, the inventor of kindergarten.

“The smooth shapely maple blocks with which to build, the sense of which never afterward leaves the fingers; so form became feeling. These primary forms were the secret of all effects,” Wright recalled, “which were ever got into the architecture of the world.” Wright’s son John would complete the circle, inventing in 1916 the construction toy that came to be known as Lincoln Logs.

Architectural historians have sought origins for Wright’s innovative organic architecture — his long horizontals and pinwheel plans — in the geometries of his toys, even reconstructing his early house designs using the Froebel Blocks themselves.

I suspect that the connection isn’t that literal. But it is certainly primal, and visceral, to do with the idea of making and unmaking, and the complex relationships of parts to wholes, and brokenness to wholeness.

Once, detouring through a parking-lot flea market, I stumbled across some Froebel Blocks from Wright’s era, stacked as tightly and delicately as the dovetail joints of their original wooden box. Froebel Blocks are collectible antiques, but these were flea-market finds and not auctioneers’ goods because they had been methodically defaced by years of scribbled arabesques in Magic Marker, in a child’s hand.

I discovered that these lines traveled continuously from block to block, and that by carefully aligning the distinctly colored arcs and loops of the markings, I could reconstruct all the arrangements into which the blocks had been built — those magic marks the inadvertent blueprints for a forgotten memory palace.

I remember the fugue of that reconstruction, low on the ground below a flea market table. I remember the astonishing intimacy of visiting a stranger’s childhood, and how that intimacy somehow caused me to delay actually buying this treasure. I circled the flea market, and returned to find it gone.

Maker culture, like Lego, is about loss. All building-block toys are about appearance and disappearance, demolition and reconstruction. Maker culture, for all its love of stuff, is similarly a culture of resourcefulness in an era of economic scarcity: relentless in its iterative prototyping, its radically adaptive reuse of ready-made objects, its tendency to unmake one thing to make another — all in a new ecology of economy.

When my brother and I wanted a new toy, we cannibalized whatever we’d made before, which had been made of all the things we’d ever made before that. So of all those years of guns and starships, I have only that Wrightian feeling for form in the fingertips — and the sound, somewhere between rustling and clinking, of a thousand plastic pieces tumbling from an overturned bucket into a disorderly pile, rippling away from a seeking hand.

I remember the last thing I ever made of Lego, far later into adolescence than I should admit. It was a robot that, thanks to double-jointed hinges, could continually reconfigure itself without being disassembled. And in this sense it was anti-Lego, capable of being remade without being unmade. I knew that it was the most I could ever do in the medium, and the end of an era. It drifted back into that bucket.

A quarter-century later I saw the same bucket opened and overturned by a young nephew. And there, like a time traveler, was this same robot. Mostly just its legs, standing Ozymandias-like in a pile of bricks. I reached for it, but not faster than my nephew, who, recognizing an accretion of especially useful pieces, instantly dissolved it with his hands. One of Wright’s secrets of all effects must be this: Because nothing comes from nothing, and nothing goes entirely out of the world, you have to take things apart if you seek to put everything together."
2014  thomsdemonchaux  making  makerculture  resourcefulness  lego  invention  franklloydwright  froebelblocks  froebeltoys  building  construction  unmaking  dissolution  prototyping  adaptivereuse  reuse  scarcity  materials  toys  play  appearance  disappearance  reconstruction  ecology 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Autonomous Machines Project by Echo Yang
"Analog machine action: Autonomous Machines Project by Echo Yang examines modern generative design processes, where computer software iterates endless variations, by turning old school (obsolete) analog devices into instruments of self-generated output, for example, by attaching a swab with paint to a bobbing tin chicken wind-up toy and recording the dabs."
art  echoyang  machines  color  motion  toys 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Furbidden Knowledge - Radiolab
"In 1999, Freedom Baird was in grad school, and Furbies--those furry little robot toys that talk to you and tell you to play with them--were all the rage. So Freedom, who was thinking about becoming a mom someday, decided to get a little practice by adopting two gerbils and one Furby. And that led to a chance discovery...and an idea for an experiment that Freedom believed could serve as a kind of emotional Turing test, a way to ask whether machines are more alive than dolls.

In order to test Freedom's idea, we gathered up a Barbie, a hamster named Gerbie, and a Furby. Then, we invited five brave kids into the studio: Taro Higashi Zimmerman, Luisa Tripoli-Krasnow, Sadie Kathryn McGearey, Olivia Tate McGearey, Lila Cipolla, and Turin Cipolla.

We ran our results by Caleb Chung, the man who created Furby. And according to Caleb, the reason Furby gets under our skin is simple...but Jad and Robert aren't ready to buy his explanation. Sherry Turkle returns to help us think about what's going on."

[Complete show: http://www.radiolab.org/story/137407-talking-to-machines/ ]
furby  furbies  machines  behavior  interaction  2011  1999  freedombaird  toys  robots  turingtest  calebchung  sherryturkle  radiolab 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Preschool lessons: New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire.
"In the first study, MIT professor Laura Schulz, her graduate student Elizabeth Bonawitz, and their colleagues looked at how 4-year-olds learned about a new toy with four tubes. Each tube could do something interesting: If you pulled on one tube it squeaked, if you looked inside another tube you found a hidden mirror, and so on. For one group of children, the experimenter said: "I just found this toy!" As she brought out the toy, she pulled the first tube, as if by accident, and it squeaked. She acted surprised ("Huh! Did you see that? Let me try to do that!") and pulled the tube again to make it squeak a second time. With the other children, the experimenter acted more like a teacher. She said, "I'm going to show you how my toy works. Watch this!" and deliberately made the tube squeak. Then she left both groups of children alone to play with the toy.

All of the children pulled the first tube to make it squeak. The question was whether they would also learn about the other things the toy could do. The children from the first group played with the toy longer and discovered more of its "hidden" features than those in the second group. In other words, direct instruction made the children less curious and less likely to discover new information.

Does direct teaching also make children less likely to draw new conclusions—or, put another way, does it make them less creative? To answer this question, Daphna Buchsbaum, Tom Griffiths, Patrick Shafto, and I gave another group of 4-year-old children a new toy. * This time, though, we demonstrated sequences of three actions on the toy, some of which caused the toy to play music, some of which did not. For example, Daphna might start by squishing the toy, then pressing a pad on its top, then pulling a ring on its side, at which point the toy would play music. Then she might try a different series of three actions, and it would play music again. Not every sequence she demonstrated worked, however: Only the ones that ended with the same two actions made the music play. After showing the children five successful sequences interspersed with four unsuccessful ones, she gave them the toy and told them to "make it go."

Daphna ran through the same nine sequences with all the children, but with one group, she acted as if she were clueless about the toy. ("Wow, look at this toy. I wonder how it works? Let's try this," she said.) With the other group, she acted like a teacher. ("Here's how my toy works.") When she acted clueless, many of the children figured out the most intelligent way of getting the toy to play music (performing just the two key actions, something Daphna had not demonstrated). But when Daphna acted like a teacher, the children imitated her exactly, rather than discovering the more intelligent and more novel two-action solution.

As so often happens in science, two studies from different labs, using different techniques, have simultaneously produced strikingly similar results. They provide scientific support for the intuitions many teachers have had all along: Direct instruction really can limit young children's learning. Teaching is a very effective way to get children to learn something specific—this tube squeaks, say, or a squish then a press then a pull causes the music to play. But it also makes children less likely to discover unexpected information and to draw unexpected conclusions."
psychology  play  parenting  lifestyle  toys  2011  via:lukeneff  learning  directinstruction  motivation  discovery  boredom  alisongopnik  pedagogy  howweteach  wcydwt  constructivism  lauraschulz  daphnabuchsbaum  tomgriffiths  patrickshafto  teaching  noahgoodman 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Tom Armitage » Driftwood
"What this means is: I can check into a location and find myself, a year ago, standing there too. Does that make sense?

(The terms and conditions say I can’t imitate other people, but that doesn’t stop me imitating myself, right?)

So there’s me in the present, and also me-a-year-ago brought forward into the present.

What I learned from this is: you can very viscerally remember a year ago. I see old-me somewhere, and remember who I was in that pub with, or why I was at an event, or what terrible film I saw, or how sad – or happy – I was at any particular point in time."



"It’s interesting for me to look back on this body of work when considering the final – and perhaps largest – project I’d like to talk about today. It takes a lot of these impulses – the psychogeographic; the act of creating situations; the act of dérive; the use of leftovers; the barely-game – and pieces them together to create a new kind of interaction that played out in the city."



"And we wanted to do that in as accessible a way as possible: for the most people, at the largest scale. I’ve worked around ARG-like things before, and to be honest: it’s not that hard to create a cool experience for a few hundred people that’s not very good value for money. Making something fun and immediate for thousands – that’s far harder. But if we were to make the city playable, it had to be at the biggest scale possible.

Firstly, that meant making it super-accessible. An app for a smartphone might be cool and have GPS and that, but it limits your audience. Everybody understands SMS – every mobile phone has SMS – and it’s super-simple to implement now; Twilio does the legwork for us. Superficially unexciting technology made super-simple by web-based services.

And secondly, to use as much of the city as possible without incurring too many costs – we’d need to use things that were already there. We wanted instead to find a way of hijacking the existing infrastructure – we spent a lot of time scouring the city for opportunities. We noticed that a lot of street furniture – lampposts, postboxes, bus stops, cranes, bridges – have unique reference/ maintenance labels. We thought it would be interesting for these objects to be intervention points – something more tangible than GPS and quite commonplace. Just telling us where you are.

At the time, I jokingly said that the Smart City uses technology and systems to work out what its citizens are doing, and the Playable City would just ask you how you are.

What we ended up with was a playful experience where you could text message street furniture, hold a dialogue with it, and find out what other people had been saying."



"We heavily “front-loaded” the experience – the first experience of Hello Lamp Post has to be really good. It’s no good putting all the best content behind hours of play – most of it won’t get seen, as a result. So we chose to make the early interactions completely fully-featured – and then treat the players who continued to engage, to come back again and again, to more subtle shifts in behaviour that were still rewarding – but that didn’t hide most of the functionality from casual players. The Playable City had to be playable by everyone."



"Now that I look back on it, I can see that Hello Lamp Post acts as a lovely summation of five years of toys and games built around cities. It’s an experience that doesn’t so much interrupt your experience of the city as it layers on top of it, letting you see the paving and the beach all at once. It builds ritual and new interactions into routine. It requires almost nothing to engage with it – and most of the systems it uses – SMS, Twilio, the city – are already built by other people. We just built the middle layer. (Which, in this case, is rather complex. But you get the picture.)

What can we learn from all this?

By building on top of other services, we also create a kind of sustainability. When Noticings closed, the photos were still on Flickr – just with an unusual tag. If the ghostbots break, their activity is still preserved forever.

We don’t destroy the value we’ve created the second we turn it off. Which is more like how a city behaves: it degrades, or is reused, or gentrified, but history becomes another layer of patina on top of it – it isn’t torn down instantly.

We’re not planting fully grown trees and then tearing them out: we’re building an ecosystem, and perhaps other games or tools will build on top of us. We hoped – once people twigged how Hello Lamp Post worked – they might start drawing codes on things, on posters, on street art, in order to attach messages to it.

If the city is a beach, it is littered in driftwood. When I think of driftwood, I think about flotsam and jetsam. Flotsam is that which floats ashore of its own accord; jetsam is that which is deliberately thrown overboard from a boat – man-made detritus, as opposed to natural wastage (or wreckage).

I think those two categories also apply to the materials I’m terming “driftwood” today. And I genuinely believe the things I’m about to describe are materials, just like wood or steel. That might be obvious with regards to some of these – but not all. If a material is something we manipulate and shape as designers, then all these things could be considered materials.

Leftover infrastructures – services like Twitter and Foursquare, more tactile infrastructure like transit networks or maintenance codes on objects. And leftover technologies, too; print-on-demand, SMS, telephony – all are now available over straightforward web APIs. These things have become commoditised and tossed overboard, made available to all.

In this way, we can spend our time working on unique experiences and interactions, rather than the underlying platforms.

If that’s our jetsam, what’s the flotsam – the stuff just floating around?
Data

The city is drowning in data.

I tend to describe data as an exhaust: you give it off whether you like it or not, and it follows you around like a cloud. People give it off; machines give it off; systems give it off. Given all the data we emit by choice – our locations stored in Foursquare, or Twitter, or Facebook; our event attendance tracked by Lanyrd and Eventbrite; as well as that we emit regardless of whether we want to – discount card usage; travelcard usage; online purchasing data – well, what are the experienes you could build around that? This is all there (with end-users permission) for the taking, and it can lead to unusual new ambient interactions.

Environments

What are the environments you can repurpose? Not just the City as a whole but smaller spaces – institutions, establishments, public spaces, parks, transit networks. All these are spaces and contexts to build within, and they all come with their own affordances. Even when they’re controlled or marshalled by others, they are spaces to consider reclaiming and repurposing.

Routine

And just as we can reclaim space, consider Time as a material to be reclaimed to: what are the points of the day we can design for – not just active, 100% concentration, but all the elements where there is surplus attention? We can’t create Debord’s focused, committed dérive – but how can we create a tiny fragment of it, without invading the daily routines we all have to live with?"



"I don’t think, ultimately, the city can resist the beach it sits upon. There are so many things we can build atop it, be it on semi-public, semi-private, corporate spaces – or the genuine publics of the city.

To build and make them, we don’t even need to invent architectures and infrastructures – we don’t even have to make it obvious they’re happening. We can use what’s already there - making new experiences out of the driftwood that lives in the city and across the network. Lifting up the paving slabs to reveal the beach underneath."
tomarmitage  2013  driftwood  ghostcar  hellolamppost  muncaster  noticing  noticings  foursquare  flickr  leftovers  playablecity  cities  derive  psychogeography  towerbridge  toys  play  fun  dérive  situationist  games 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Confiscated toys – in pictures | Life and style | The Observer
"Paper aeroplanes, makeup, trading cards, yo-yos: these are just some of the objects of distraction that fill school uniform pockets and sneak their way across classrooms when sir's back is turned. Until they become confiscated, that is, and end up on display in a museum several years later. Currently on show until next June at the V&A's Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, London, Confiscation Cabinets is artist Guy Tarrant's collection of confiscated items gleaned from the 150 London schools in which he has worked during his 16 years as a supply teacher. Here, he discusses some of his collection"

[See also: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_vault/2013/11/27/british_toys_a_teacher_s_collection_of_confiscated_playthings.html ]
toys  collections  schools  confiscation  2013  children  guytarrant 
november 2013 by robertogreco
The Year of the Lego: Why the Company Thrives in China : The New Yorker
"Parents’ drive to see their children succeed is strong enough that, in Button’s eyes, Lego is competing not so much with other toymakers as with after-school extracurricular activities. Fortunately for Lego, it long ago made itself an extracurricular activity in the form of a division called Lego Education. The program, more than thirty years old, adapts Lego products to the classroom—encouraging children to use gears to learn about ratios, for example, or to program Lego robots, or to physically build the worlds they have written stories about—and it caters to students from preschool all the way through university. The program is in seventy countries so far. “It’s attempting to teach parents the value of playtime, and at the same time it’s building awareness of Lego,” Button said. Separately, the nonprofit Lego Foundation has, in the past three years, donated Lego sets to schools in China that serve more than a hundred thousand children—a small number for China, but one that makes for a revealing initiative nonetheless."
lego  toys  business  education  china  2013 
november 2013 by robertogreco
AI PIOPPI on Vimeo
"Hidden among the trees of an Italian forest, Bruno has been building swings, slides, seesaws, gyroscopes and roller-coasters for the last forty years. They are his passion and a way to attract clients to Ai Pioppi, the restaurant he runs with his family. Throughout this short documentary, his hand-powered toys move alongside his thoughts about existence and death; and why he spent more than half of his life creating rides."
italy  play  toys  aiprioppi  documentary  video  fabrica  handmade  amuseumentparks  playgrounds 
october 2013 by robertogreco
IsoBots
"Welcome to my robotics site, first a little about myself, I am a product designer and educator. As a product designer I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of projects including concept automobiles, electric vehicles, medical equipment, exhibit design, wearable computers and toys. Although I am a certifiable car nut and lover of cutting edge technology, my favorite projects are toys. I love creating toys that might become a child's treasured object, I look back on my favorite toys that I had as a kid and can clearly see how they allowed me to develop my imagination. My goal is to give today's kids the opportunity to learn how things work and make working robots! My partner Anne Mayoral and I developed the ArtBots to implement this goal. Many times it is the first time the girl or boy has actually constructed something that actually works! The pride on the young makers face is priceless and the successful completion of the working bot instills confidence which is needed to encourage further engagement. I feel that this encouragement is missing in so many of today's toys and games. We have created several generations of kids that can turn on and off toys, have excellent hand eye coordination but lack in the knowledge and even the curiosity of how stuff works.

I reside in San Francisco and spend my free time tinkering with British cars, old motorcycles, RC gliders and building various robotic creatures. I teach at the Academy of Art University in the Industrial Design Department. I also run an after school robotics class for seven to nine year olds called ArtBots."

[via: http://make.berkeley.edu/ ]
robotics  robots  youth  kids  education  bayarea  sanfrancisco  making  chrismeyer  criticalmaking  makers  design  learning  toys  toydesign  toymaking  glvo  edg  srg  isobots  berkeley 
may 2013 by robertogreco
Making Friends: On Toys and Toymaking — dConstruct Audio Archive
"Toys are not idle knick-knacks: they allow us to explore otherwise impossible terrain; fire the imagination; provide sparks for structured play. They do not just entertain and delight; they stimulate and inspire. And always, they remind us of the value - and values - to be found in abstract play.

Toymaking is not an idle habit. Toys are a fertile ground for creators to work in. They offer a playful space to experiment and explore. They are a safe ground to experiment with new techniques, skills, or ideas. Though they emerge from no particular purpose, they expose purpose and meaning through their making. Toymaking ranges from making realistic simulations of life to producing highly abstract playthings. And everyone who makes things - out of paper, wood, metal, plastic, or code - has something to gain from making them.

Trying to draw a thread through what, it turns out, has been a lifetime first shaped by toymaking, and then spent making toys in idle moments, Tom will take in…"
playthings  making  simulations  meaning  purpose  delight  inspiration  play  srg  edg  glvo  practice  experimenting  prototyping  tinkering  2012  dconstruct2012  dconstruct  toymaking  toys  tomarmitage 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Playful 2011 | Chris O'Shea
"Last week I gave a talk at Playful, a great conference in London.

After my talk quite a few people asked me again for names of things I’d shown or links, so here you go…"
chrisoshea  playful11  playful  play  children  toys  imagination  creativity  2011  trends  making  doing  glvo 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Infovore » Blessed are the Toymakers
"Why not put technological skills to use making art (as I argued at Culture Hack Day)? Go one step further: rather than putting technology to use serving existing media – the books and films that Robin talks about – why not just invent new forms of media, as Jack Schulze and Timo Arnall describe? The new liberal arts are not on the edge of something big; they are on many edges, all at once. We get to decide where they tip over into; what’s at the bottom of those cliff-faces. Maybe those media will have the tiny audiences Sloan describes; maybe they’ll become huge. But we get to decide, and right now, there is space to play, and a need for those of us with weird skillsets – technological hands and flighty, artistic brains, or vice versa, ‘consecutive or concurrent’ – to go explore.

Inventing media is a big job. We could start by making toys."
tomarmitage  making  robinsloan  doing  tools  mediainvention  newliberalarts  berg  berglondon  mattjones  jackschulze  timoarnall  media  storytelling  toys  play  2011 
september 2011 by robertogreco
NuPenny: Portland
"NuPenny exists as a traveling art installation under the guise of an inaccessible toy store. On the surface, & viewed as a retail establishment or typical sales model, NP seems fundamentally flawed in connecting w/ those who desire to take its products home. True enough. But on another level the storeʼs reason for being is as a realm of carefully manufactured objects of desire that have not (or perhaps cannot) find either their place or time in the world. The first appearance of this toy store installation was in Waterville, Maine in January of 2010. Four months later & w/out notice NP closed in Waterville & moved to another town."

"Conceptually each toy is my interpretation of a song lyric, poem or literary work that has affected me. By using the NP/Teletype code card that is available on this site you can easily (though perhaps not quickly) read the ʻtextʼ on each toy, box & placard. More toys will occur, & arrive in the store over time, as I have the means to make them."
art  toys  sculpture  desire  consumerism  maine  nupenny  objects  glvo  edg  srg  randyregier  installation  via:anterobot 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Are pink toys turning girls into passive princesses? | Kat Arney | Science | guardian.co.uk
"The colour-coding of toys – pink for girls and blue for boys – reinforces pernicious gender stereotypes, says Kat Arney"
katarney  color  stereotypes  gender  boys  girls  toys  play  pink  2011 
may 2011 by robertogreco
The Daily What: Word Clouds of the Day
"Word Clouds of the Day: Crystal Smith @ The Achilles Effect (a site that examines how young boys’ understanding of masculinity affects their perception of femininity) culled a list of words from 59 toy spots directed at either boys or girls and plugged them into Wordle to produce a word cloud illustrating which words are used most often in ads targeting boys (top) versus words used most often in ads targeting girls.

“This is not an exhaustive record,” Smith says, “it’s really just a starting point, but the results certainly are interesting.”

A complete breakdown of the facts and figures can be found here. A follow-up post with responses to common questions and criticisms can be found here."
classideas  wordle  advertising  toys  gender  femininity  boys  girls  words  language  comparison  masculinity  perception 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Suwappu: Toys in media – Blog – BERG
"We all remember making up stories with our toys when we were young, or our favourite childhood TV cartoon series where our toys seemed to have impossible, brilliant lives of their own. Now that we have the technology to have toys soak in media, what tales will they tell?"

[See also: http://www.dentsulondon.com/blog/2011/04/05/introducing-suwappu/ ]
berg  toys  ar  suwappu  cartoons  animals  storytelling  2011  play  media  berglondon  timoarnall  dentsu  augmentedreality 
april 2011 by robertogreco
Introducing: Helicopter Taxi | Toca Boca
"As our first digital toy, we are proud to announce the release of Helicopter Taxi for iPhone! The story is that Rita and Skip, our pilots, run a helicopter taxi that picks up five different characters that need to get to certain places. Your kids can fly the helicopter by walking around in the room and moving the iPhone. Since it is in 3D, you can look at the helicopter from all angles by simply turning the iPhone. After picking all of the characters up and flying them to where they want to go, you fly the helicopter home so Rita and Skip can rest for the night. After that, you’re ready to play again!

Helicopter Taxi uses the camera on the iPhone in an innovative way in order to create an augmented reality effect. It looks like the helicopter is flying in the room with you! You pick the characters up by simply laying the iPhone down on a flat surface, and then they get in or out."
children  gamedesign  toys  iphone  applications  ios  helicoptertaxi  tocaboca  interactive  fun  augmentedreality  ar 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Artificial Empathy – Blog – BERG
"Artificial Empathy is at the core of B.A.S.A.A.P. – it’s what powers Kacie Kinzer’s Tweenbots, and it’s what Byron and Nass were describing in The Media Equation to some extent, which of course brings us back to Clippy.

Clippy was referenced by Alex in her talk, and has been resurrected again as an auto-critique to current efforts to design and build agents and ‘things with behaviour’

One thing I recalled which I don’t think I’ve mentioned in previous discussions was that back in 1997, when Clippy was at the height of his powers – I did something that we’re told (quite rightly to some extent) no-one ever does – I changed the defaults.

You might not know, but there were several skins you could place on top of Clippy from his default paperclip avatar – a little cartoon Einstein, an ersatz Shakespeare… and a number of others."
ai  robotics  emotion  design  artificialempathy  empathy  bigdog  robots  mattjones  berg  berglondon  machines  dogs  behavior  adaptivepotentiation  play  seriousplay  toys  culture  human  basaap  emotionalrobots  emoticons  alexdeschamps-sonsino  reallyinterestinggroup  2011  animals 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Makedo construction toy makes Lego look positively limiting - Core77
"From a cognitive development standpoint, you could argue that the strength of Lego is also its only drawback: The parts are standardized. Which is to say, a child never has to think about the connections or the materials, as they're both fixed. They are free to create--as long as they remain within the boundaries of what the building blocks are capable of.

Enter Makedo, which is something like Lego for the real world. It's a system of connectors that lets the child join a variety of material together, paper cups, cardboard, empty boxes, and whatever else you've got laying around. A series of simple (and safely blunted) tools enable the child to perform primitive construction operations and modify materials to accept the connectors, truly reinforcing the notion that you can shape the world around you with a little imagination and elbow grease." [Forgot about this, glad to see it pop up again.]
papercraft  core77  lego  play  make  making  cardboard  makedo  diy  edg  srg  glvo  toys  building 
january 2011 by robertogreco
Braun Lectron System
"Dieter Rams and Jurgen Greubel designed the Braun Lectron System (1967- 69) as a teaching tool for use in schools and universities. It is made up of a large range of little bricks, like dominoes, that magnetically connect to one another. Once the blocks are organized on a conductive plate, they can form a variety of functional circuits. See this great article on it from a 1967 issue of Electronics Illustrated, where they discuss “what a drag” it is to make your own circuits, but “now it can be as much fun to put electronic circuits together and to learn fundamentals as it is to put words together when you play Scrabble.”"
electronics  dieterrams  education  learning  design  toys  play  jurgengreubel 
january 2011 by robertogreco
All about playground session in GameCity - uvula
"The overview of my concept has not changed since the beginning of this project. It is to create something that anyone can play with, kids, adults, dogs. But the way 3 years old kids would play is very different from 5 years old. Besides that, who to play with is also a big element that changes the way they play. For example, they would play more safely with parents, while they would play more adventurously with other kids. I designed the equipments considering such things, although I am not sure if my designs fully reflect them. As a result, I think the design has become something very simple and familiar, while respecting the plays which already exist.

Now, I will introduce each of the equipments."

[Now here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/555294/uvula_archive/posts/2010/11/all-about-playground-session-in-gamecity.html ]
playgrounds  design  keitatakahashi  play  competition  children  dogs  equipment  toys  games  gaming  gamedesign  animals 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Shaping The Future of Play | design mind
"Play is our greatest natural resource, so how do we make sure that our kids are playing in the right way?"

"Like De Matteo, all adults ultimately need to re-imagine how we can enable and support these future “change agents.” The answer may lie in four foundational pillars of play: open environments, flexible tools, modifiable rules, and superpowers."
via:cervus  play  gaming  scratch  toys  videogames  superpowers  openenvironments  exploration  creativity  problemsolving  flexibility  flexibletools  modifiablerules  rules  imagination  programming  future  learning  unschooling  deschooling 
november 2010 by robertogreco
The Do Lectures | Matt Webb
"Matt Webb is MD of the design studio BERG, which invents products and designs new media. Projects include Popular Science+ for the Apple iPad, solid metal phone prototypes for Nokia, a bendy map of Manhattan called Here & There, and an electronic puppet that brings you closer to your friends.

Matt speaks on design and technology, is co-author of Mind Hacks - cognitive psychology for a general audience - and if you were to sum up his design interests in one word, it would be “politeness.” He lives in London in a flat with a wonky floor."
mattwebb  design  designfiction  computing  ai  scifi  sciencefiction  berg  berglondon  future  futurism  retrofuture  space  speculativedesign  2010  dolectures  books  film  thinkingnebula  nebulas  history  automation  toys  productdesign  iphone  schooloscope  redlaser  mechanicalturk  magic  virtualpets  commoditization  robotics  anyshouse  twitter  internetofthings  ubicomp  anybots  faces  pareidolia  fractionalai  fractionalhorsepower  andyshouse  weliveinamazingtimes  spacetravel  spaceexploration  spimes  iot 
october 2010 by robertogreco
YouTube - Matt Webb - What comes after mobile
"Matt Webb talks about how slightly smart things have invaded our lives over the past years. People have been talking about artificial intelligence for years but the promise has never really come through. Matt shows how the AI promise has transformed and now seems to be coming to us in the form of simple toys instead of complex machines. But this talks is about much more then AI, Matt also introduces chatty interfaces & hard math for trivial things."
mattwebb  mobile  phones  future  scifi  toys  2010  berg  berglondon  momo17  productinvention  invention 
october 2010 by robertogreco
Horizons [iPhone, iPad, oF] - "Exploration of colour, sound and form" by @julapy + Eli Murray | CreativeApplications.Net
"Horizons is a interactive sound toy which brings together the atmospheric sounds of Eli Murray (Gentleforce) and generative visuals of Lukasz Karluk. The app is an exploration of colour, sound and form.

The design of the piece focuses on creating subtle colour refractions in a rich colour scape using an algorithmic process known as triangulation. Fluidity of interaction is achieved using real-time physics made using the Box2d library and openFrameworks."
horizons  iphone  applications  ipad  sound  toys  color  form  lukaszkarluk  elimurray  gentleforce  algorithms  triangulation  physics  ios 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Matt Webb – What comes after mobile « Mobile Monday Amsterdam
"Matt Webb talks about how slightly smart things have invaded our lives over the past years. People have been talking about artificial intelligence for years but the promise has never really come through. Matt shows how the AI promise has transformed and now seems to be coming to us in the form of simple toys instead of complex machines. But this talks is about much more then AI, Matt also introduces chatty interfaces & hard math for trivial things."

[via: http://preoccupations.tumblr.com/post/1157711285/what-comes-after-mobile-matt-webb ]
mattwebb  berg  berglondon  future  mobile  technology  ai  design  productinvention  invention  spacebinding  timebinding  energybinding  spimes  internetofthings  anybot  ubicomp  glowcaps  geography  context  privacy  glanceableuse  cloud  embedded  chernofffaces  understanding  math  mathematics  augmentedreality  redlaser  neuralnetworks  mechanicalturk  shownar  toys  lanyrd  iot  ar 
september 2010 by robertogreco
Family Pastimes
"Family Pastimes games are the inventions of Jim Deacove. Jim started making co-operative games for his own family, and was encouraged by friends to make more.

The Deacove family was and is no different from others. Sharing toys, helping mom and dad and being kind to others are values taught in all homes. To find games which help reinforce such sharing attitudes, however, is very difficult. Thus, Jim and Ruth felt the need to create some.

The "hobby" became a small business in their home 31 years ago (1972). Slow but steady growth in sales required moving the business into a cottage. With the addition of new games and greater interest by the public, a switch occurred. The family moved into the cottage and the business occupied the two stories of the old farm house. A new workshop was built in 1984 to replace the old farm house, destroyed by a terrible fire in October 1983."

[via: http://shareable.net/blog/the-case-against-competition ]
games  cooperation  boardgames  cooperative  education  gaming  toys  noncompetitive 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero ["Continuing this week’s preview of pieces for my show on Friday at Land here in Portland."]
"I’m a huge proponent of playing, and for me, the logical overlap between the idea of playing, and my love of form and basic color is the wooden blocks I had as a kid. (Kids still play with these instead of Nintendo DSs, right?)...

I think a large part of the obligation of art is to not express how things are, but to rather express how things feel. The beauty of play is that it is completely submersive: you can’t play and do something else at the same time. It monopolizes your attention, in a very good way. (And that sounds beautiful, as I write this blog post, check Twitter, respond to emails, and have a chat with a friend.) With play, you focus on nonsense to see the potential of what’s around you. And doesn’t being completely submersed in the infinite potential of every single little bit sound like a beautiful way to live?"
frankchimero  play  art  emotions  feelings  creativity  children  woodeblocks  toys  attention 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Frank Chimero - Lazy Hammer [Too much to quote here. Read the whole thing. Don't miss Franks memory from childhood that opens and closes the essay.]
"maybe we should be risky. Many designers waste an opportunity to make new, meaningful things by instead letting someone else pretend for them and making work that is overly referential. Instead of that, designers can use their skills to collaborate with others to create new things. We can pick up that dinosaur toy and play with it a bit instead of the He-Man toy.

Rather than spin our wheels because we’re left without content, we should partner with others who have a message but not the savvy to properly communicate it. It’s combustion through collaboration…

Designers are excellent producers. We do well to steer and hone other people’s creative impulses, we can fine-polish ideas, and craft successful ways to communicate and tell stories. So, I’d say the next time you’ve got the impulse to make something but don’t have a message or story of your own, consider collaboration."
interestingness  content  frankchimero  collaboration  creativity  storytelling  childhood  toys  play  memory  meaning  imagination  tcsnmy  classideas  writing  clients  personalwork  craft  meta-content  fanart  culture  risk  risktaking  advice  design  message  thewhy  dangermouse  grayalbum  music  brianburton  thinking  source  sourcematerial  invention  crosspollination  crossmedia  sharing  anthropology  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  graphics  communication 
august 2010 by robertogreco
GearBox Inc.
"Gearbox is a Boulder based startup that works with consumer electronics companies and developers to bring phone controlled open devices to market."

[via: http://www.designboom.com/weblog/cat/16/view/10716/gearbox-ball.html ]
electronics  android  arduino  toys  edg  microcontrollers  mobile  phones  glvo  projectideas  gearbox 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Confessions of an Aca/Fan: Archives: He-Man and the Masters of Transmedia
"When I speak to the 20 and 30 some­things who are lead­ing the charge for trans­me­dia sto­ry­telling, many of them have sto­ries of child­hood spent immersed in Dun­geons and Drag­ons or Star Wars, play­ing with action fig­ures or other fran­chise related toys, and my own sus­pi­cion has always been that such expe­ri­ences shaped how they thought about stories.

From the begin­ning, they under­stood sto­ries less in terms of plots than in terms of clus­ters of char­ac­ters and in terms of world build­ing. From the begin­ning they thought of sto­ries as extend­ing from the screen across plat­forms and into the phys­i­cal realm. From the begin­ning they thought of sto­ries as resources out of which they could cre­ate their own fan­tasies, as some­thing which shifted into the hands of the audi­ence once they had been pro­duced and in turn as some­thing which was expanded and remixed on the grass­roots level."

[via: http://snarkmarket.com/2010/5602 ]
henryjenkins  thatsme  cv  storytelling  worldbuilding  media  transmedia  dungeonsanddragons  starwars  he-man  childhood  toys  play  characters  fantasy  imagination  remixing  remixculture 
may 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: steal other things
"This, I'm afraid, is how I do things. I learn by stating the obvious in public... [love that line, I think it describes me too and I hope that we allow learners like that to thrive at tcsnmy]

I suspect many of these mechanics are so popular with brands and marketing organisations because they fit with traditional assumptions about how you motivate people - give them rewards...And this isn't stupid, people do like keeping score of things and getting little badges, it scratches an atavistic itch...[but] there are lots of other things you can steal from games, many other aspects of gaming that people find appealing and some of them might be more easily and usefully extracted...

the wholesale export of games mechanics to the world might get a bit infuriating, the export of the cues about pretend identity might be more fruitful.

And it brings me back to toys again, because they do that very well."
play  playful  pretending  russelldavies  toys  gaming  games  gamedesign  advertising  interactiondesign  design  2010  ux  feedback  rewards  discovery  identity  curiosity  intrinsicmotivation  extrinsicmotivation  learning  cv  tcsnmy 
april 2010 by robertogreco
russell davies: not playful
"don't like...these new social, interacting-w/-real-people games...[they're not] bad, just not for me. & I'm not that special, so I bet they don't appeal to some other people...might be worth thinking about. Because...seems to be some consensus that more social = better & I'm not sure that's true...I don't like meeting people I don't [know]. That's why web has been such joy, I've been able to 'meet' people & get to know something of them before I really meet them...Which means I find many of efforts of social & pervasive gamers scary. Werewolf seems to be codification & enforcement of all horrible about dinner party...lots of my favorite games are only slightly social...why I'm drawn towards idea of 'pretending apps' - not about imposing rules, [but] suggesting context...you can play them in your own head...[they're] Social Toys...toys because they're for playing w/, not in...social because they're connected & you can play in a shared context. But it's your play, in your head."
russelldavies  play  pretending  immersion  gamedesign  cv  shyness  web  online  social  socialsoftware  games  toys  2010  allsorts  playful  gaming  interactive  contemplative  imagination  creativity 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Voluskrin childrens game - Shop - Third Drawer Down
"Voluskrin is an amazing children's game from Iceland.

The farm stands at the root of a towering mountain nestled in a small valley in the countryside. Near the farm is a small stream and in the fields the livestock roam and feed.

The Völuskrín contains:
The wooden box: Can also be used as the farmhouse when the lid is reversed. The back of the box has a picture of a mountain that can also be used in the game.

The fences: Can be used in the game as fences but also contain information about the Völuskrín. Inside the fences the history of the toys can be found, each animal is given a name and the game is described. Each fence has its in structions in the following languages: German, English, Icelandic, Danish and French.

The bones: The Völuskrín contains 13 bones that are made from hard plastic and modelled on the original forms of the sheep bones."
games  toys  iceland  bones  glvo 
april 2010 by robertogreco
A Common Nomenclature for Lego Families by Giles Turnbull - The Morning News
"Thousands of different Lego exist, yet when your seven-year-old asks for “a clippy bit,” you know exactly what to hand him. GILES TURNBULL surveys a caucus of children and determines a common nomenclature."

[New URL: http://www.themorningnews.org/article/a-common-nomenclature-for-lego-families ]
culture  children  play  folksonomy  names  linguistics  words  taxonomy  language  writing  nomenclature  lego  slang  toys  glvo  edg  srg  naming 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Mini-T by Maker Beam
"MakerBeam is a project to build a toy and tool for the open source imagination. Based on Mini-T, a new open source standard, MakerBeam will develop a construction toy for our times: open source precision hardware equally at home doing desktop fabrication or serving as a drawbridged castle for action figures."
toys  make  makings  opensource  fabbing  construction 
october 2009 by robertogreco
There is no single-use Lego | Quiet Babylon
"I bought a pile of the standard bricks and – as an experiment – this Star Wars kit to see how ridiculous the pieces were. On the box, it appears to be made of all-kinds of single-use bits. Building it told a different story. The feet of the walker turn out to be the same part as the bodies of the Droids. Some of the joints are re-purposed guns. There are dozens of little clever things so that as you follow the instructions, there is moment after moment of discovery. “Oh, I can do THAT with that part?”"
creativity  toys  childhood  lego  glvo  edg  srg  play  timmaly 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Snarkmarket: The Tao of Lego
"Yeah, I guess I don't buy the Indiana Jones Legos = decline of childhood stuff.

1) It's fun and useful to follow instructions and put things together. Imitatio!

2) It's fun to ignore instructions and build whatever you want - especially with the terrific pieces that you get with the customized sets.

3) Even if you don't break down the assembled Legos, it's more fun to build an Indiana Jones or Harry Potter castle than it is to buy one that's pre-assembled.

I think 2 and 3 are basically incontestable, but 1 is the crux, right? But I think it's the most important!"
lego  creativity  make  childhood  toys  children  robots  snarkmarket  robinsloan 
september 2009 by robertogreco
Lowtech Sensors and Actuators
"This report describes the results of a collaborative research project to develop a suite of low-tech sensors and actuators that might be useful for artists and architects working with interactive environments. With this project we hoped to consolidate a number of different approaches we had found ourselves taking in our own work and develop both a "kit-of-parts" and a more conceptual framework for producing such works."
edg  make  art  howto  diy  electronics  toys  hardware  tutorial  robotics  sensors  hacking  arduino  physicalcomputing  computing  hacks  technology  opensource  programming  interface  lowtech  usmanhaque  low-tech 
may 2009 by robertogreco
« earlier      
per page:    204080120160

Copy this bookmark:





to read