I've always found the most intriguing puzzles to be those that look beautiful as objects and cause people to over think the solution. And this Bubble Trouble glass puzzle fits that perfectly. The goal is to move the single air bubble into the center chamber of this glass vial. It's elegant in design and solution, and i love the typography on the packaging as well. Tempted to purchase this one to leave on my desk and watch people tilt it up and down and all around in hopes of achieving their goal. Ok, and if you simply can't stand not knowing, solution is below.
Entries tagged with: toys
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Q-BA-MAZE - you may have noticed this new designer twist on the old school 3d wooden marble mazes on the gift guide. Well i played with it a bit before then, but only had enough free time on my hands tonight to build more silliness with it and take a few quick pics... I must say there is something calmingly mesmerizing about playing with all the ball bearings ~ and the quality of the pieces are far nicer than i expected just looking at images ~ my only complaint would be that sometimes they dont hold together as well as i'd hope, and in building my silly nearly 5ft tall twisty single helix/staircase tower some of the core center pieces weren't clicking together and it came tumbling down once... Also, some of the best packaging ever, i love that they managed to put the packaging together so that you can actually flip the box over to reset the balls to roll down the maze in the box! It's fully functional to play with before it even gets opened! Anyhow, take a look at the huge images below, and to find out more, go watch the videos at Q-BA-MAZE!
The Pingmag holiday delights post had these crazy little Kaomoji characters from Yojin on them, and i had no idea what to expect when i clicked through... one thing's for sure though, i didn't see the super crazy animation coming! These Kaomoji are part ascii art, part emoticon, and part crazy japanese toy character... more images of them below!
Twilight Turtle is another baby/toddler toy i came across the other day. Made by Sleep Sheep and Friends or Cloud B ~ this turtle is cuddly under its shell, lights up in various colors, and projects the night sky on to the ceiling (or your tent, fort, etc). "Choose from three soothing color options – blue, green, and white – to create magical, tranquil environments that are ideal for helping children of all ages ease into a restful sleep." And it projects 8 constellations for kids to learn. Also interesting is their Sheep Sleep, which plays 4 sounds that comfort babies ~ Mother's Heartbeat, Spring Showers, Ocean Surf, and Whale Songs. You can actually control the volume and it auto times out after 23 minutes. This one even now has a stroller/to-go version. More images of all below!
Honestly, with both of these being priced in the 25-40$ range, they've totally made my list for new parent gifts!
Pleo's two week stint here at NOTCOT is up, so just packaged him back up to ship him home... its been an interesting experience having a baby robodino wandering around as i work. So what's my final conclusion about the user experience of having him around? Honestly, its a really cool robot. An extremely unique experience for people of all ages, but i'm not sure that he has what it takes to hold your attention after he captures it with his inexplicably adorable sounds and behaviors that tug on your heartstrings. I found he's most amusing when treated like a lap cat... he sits and whines and basically purrs and howls happily if you just pet him constantly, tickle his feet, etc. When left to his own devices he kept wandering *very very slowly* around the room, finding objects, rubbing up against them, eating the air, calling out for more attention or else falling asleep. The hardest part about any robotics right now, is throughout your playtime with him, it is impossible to forget that he's a robot. As cute as he is batting his deep blue eyes at you, the sounds of the gears grind on constantly ~ although more quiet than most, its still hard to ignore. Also impressive is that he really is one robust little guy, he can probably survive some of the worst of kids and still keep doing his thing (with the exception of his skin perhaps which doesn't seem to be on quite the same level as his robotics). I wasn't able to yet play with programming my own behaviors and personalities for him, but when that happens i can certainly see the amount of time you'd spend futzing with him increase dramatically, but for now i did check out his *guard dog* mode which was pretty hilarious... pop the personality on an SD card and into his slot... and suddenly he barks at anything that moves!
Bottom line? I'm glad he's wandered through my life for these few weeks, and i've had friends and family all amused by playing with him, its fascinating to see how far the tech has come for this... and with a $350 price tag, he's certainly an *it* toy worth owning for the kids and gadget lovers who have it all... especially when the ability to really hack him up and give him personalities and behaviors of your choosing is ready! And are you curious about seeing what's beneath Pleo's rubbery exterior? More below...
I Golfini Della Nonna, USA has branched out from their Terrorism finger puppets and Gay Marriage finger puppets and just in time for the holiday season they have Political Candidate Finger Puppets! As it says on Moss: "Have your own debates. Pit your right hand against your left. Who needs Iowa or YouTube? The set consists of political candidates Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Fred Thompson, and Rudy Giuliani, surrounding current President George W. Bush in the dunce cap. Become part of the national discourse. And don't forget to vote. "
Guitar + Vox + OhMiBod = Vibrator responding to the sounds of the guitar. Ever have those days where it you're holding two objects and it suddenly *clicks* that they're meant to be put together? Well a box of toys showed up from OhMiBod and the VOX AmPlug came on the same day, and it suddenly dawned on me that together they could be the perfect combo gift and only ~$100! [There's a quick video if below if you don't know what i mean.]
Ok ok, hear me out. The VOX AmPlug is perfect for electric guitarists who want to hear that beautiful full bodied sound through headphones. The OhMiBod and the more attractive and enticing new Gspot vibrate to the music connected through a headphone cable... Connect the two together ~ and its an interesting way to seriously touch someone through the music you PLAY.
We all know girls can't resist a musician (yes, yes, protest if you must, but we all know its pretty hard?) ~ this would take that love of musician and his music to a whole new level. Also, if he is the worst guitar player ever maybe this would be a nice gift for his poor girlfriend. And for all those groupies you can even plug in more than one... Come to think of it... this *could* work out nicely for those gamer guys too, hook it up to the output of your XBOX/PC/etc and every shot you take (or when you get shot) in a shooter game will have a whole new effect?
Gift Guide Day 11 is all about kids, particularly the littler of the kids, although big ones will probably enjoy these as well. From robotic dinos and wifi bunnies to finger crayons and pirate sailboats... wood treehouse/dollhouses and clacking pull toys!
PLEO! Just got dropped off by the FedEx girl ~ and i remember wondering when i first met Bob Christopher and Pleo for drinks at the Peninsula Hotel what the packaging/unboxing/hatching experience was going to be like. Well, here's the answer... lots of packaging and unboxing images below, and a few shots of him waking up to the world (much whining and moaning and slow eye opening as he went into exploration stages...) I even introduced him to my Roboraptor. First impression? Strangely adorable, definitely far more emotional than my now seemingly mentally handicapped roboraptor (who is currently running into the pleo box and pushing it around while pleo begs and purrs from petting)... and it is rather bizarre having this Littlefoot (come on, don't you remember Land Before Time... movies 1-infinity?) looking dino wandering the halls. Loving the DNA details in the box graphics... and the shot on the bottom of the box is brilliant... more to come on my adventures with pleo over the next 2 weeks probably...
Oh, and looking back compared to the prototype pics ~ he sure has gotten more color in his skin! And its so bizarrely skin/rubbery like to the touch...
Ooooh update on NINJATOWN! Remember i told you about the upcoming Nintendo DS Ninjatown game and the crazy cast of ninjas living there? Well, although you're still going to have to wait till Fall 08 for the game, the blind box microplushes of the whole cast are dropping Nov 30th! Here are some sneak peeks at what you'll get for $5.95 a box!
Oh! And wouldn't these make awesome xmas tree/Hanukkah bush ornaments? Or better yet, i think it'd be fun to just sneak around and leave ninja's in random trees.
Nabzatag ~ the crazy wifi bunnies we've been seeing for a while... apparently in the goodies section of their site they are anti-naked bunnies! Anyhow, a little random, but cute that they have pdfs for everything from paper clothes (i guess you could make them with cloth too) to stickers to decorate them (from eyebrows to mustaches to logo shirts ~ give them some character!).
No one can dispute the fact that Brian McCarty is THE best toy photographer these days. His images are legendary, and they are the best portraits of toys you can find... check out some images from his 2008 calendar in collaboration with StrangeCo and MTV. See a preview of all 12 months here... and my favorites are below. Wow.
Toy Me has some fun new pieces ~ from their newest collection the ones that grabbed me are the macho arm, robotino, and the sunglasses to hang your sunglasses from (at first they almost look like the tabs from soda cans)! The mini rayban wayfarers and even aviators are far too cute, definitely a fun add on gift if you're gifting sunglasses this holiday season. Close ups below... and if Toy Me seems familiar, maybe you're remember those sweet Hunting Trap bracelets and Tank Cufflinks!
Somewhere City collection is a new set of mix and matchable fantasy characters of Goran Lelas for StrangeCo. It is said that "Somewhere City is everywhere and nowhere, floating from one part of the planet to another. Its motion is fueled by the "Secret Thought" of its wonderful, positive inhabitants." Cryptic? Yes. Playfully adorable, and even more so when mixed up? Also, yes. While this first series launches in plastic ~ we've also got a sneak peak at the upcoming plush incarnations (probably available around Q1 2008)... which i think are perfect for baby gifts! I wonder if they rattle or honk ~ doesn't the yellow bill/mouth/nose thing look like you should squeeze the body and some initially adorable but quickly annoying noise should come out? See more pictures of the whole collection and more mixups below!
Also noteworthy ~ it seems that MoMA is getting into the toy business, this collection was developed in collaboration with them, and will also be in their stores for the holiday season! And Goran Lelas is apparently an "accomplished designer whose magical style spans fashion, illustration, children’s literature and costume design" and this is his first foray into toy design.
Plan Toys ~ more woody toys to play with! Noticed the water and sand blocks at Swiss Miss and went exploring Plan Toys further... turns out they have quite the variety of wooden toys, from doll houses with various decor accessories, life size play houses (with microwaves and dish washers), building toys, push/pull toys, pirate sets, build your own 2D to 3D dinos, and even mini woody foosball! The one that stood out most to me at first ~ how cute are those living room, bathroom, patio sets above? Love that they even have a flat panel TV. See more of my favorites below.
Wow. I'm glad i don't have kids of my own this holiday season... because between these new Muji Woody nature inspired toys and the ikea ones i recently posted... they are so adorably well designs and well priced, my whole floor would be covered in these things! (Although, how fun would it be to run a preschool with only designer goods? It would be a fun way to set the standard extra high for all these kids from day one!). So here we have everything from wood DIY Dodos (my fav), blue whale, turtle, mammoth... a chalkboard globe! Woody hedgehogs... a zoo in a bag! (every executives desk clearly needs this)... and even an evolutionary puzzle to learn from. More images and more toys below.
There are some great toys over at IKEA that make me wish i was 2-3 again ~ their wooden toys are a great price (only 7.99!) and really fun minimal designs that would look great in any studio (and playroom?). Today Shade Elaine and i were wandering through the zoo of an IKEA in Palo Alto and ended up taking far too many pictures of brilliant and hilarious things we found (many of which we hadn't seen in the catalog). So starting with our absolute favorites... here are the three "KLAPPARs" pull toys (FISK - fish, GRODA - frog, IGELKOTT - hedgehog) and the MULA pull toy where these little heads pop up with various faces as you roll along.
Please excuse the mediocre images, but i was feeling silly and didn't really expect to post about the trip, so all pictures were taken with my pearl... but below there are pictures of these toys in the wild, crazy halloween masks (and the masks on giant suspended stuffed dragons), what appears to be a drunken beer bellied fox and its crazed baby/mini, some angry pill bug bags(?), nice new metal dog bowls, cute graduated cylindars (apparently dishwasher safe although so so thin), and fun acrylic sheet cut in the shape of a lamp and lightbulb with an LED.
It's the 100th anniversary of the Eames' birth, and their grandson Eames Demetrios has made a tribute to them. "This is a double celebration of the Charles Eames centennial (go to the Eames Office site to learn more). The Elephants were designed in 1945 but never went into production. This year, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Charles’ birth, the Vitra Design Museum in association with the Eames Office, has brought them out in a limited edition."
To watch the film.
To watch the film and making of with introduction by Eames Demetrios, which is on Eames Demetrios' DASFilmFest.com (Fortnightly movies on Design, Architecture, and Sustainability plus a blog and a bit more...)
And some of my favorite screenshots are below! And i love that it is shot all over LA ~ lots of LA icons from randy's donuts, the gehry music hall, santa monica pier and looking down at PCH, the tar pits.... ahhhh, home. And its great they even went guerrilla street art on the crossing signals to make them elephants!
This might be exactly why i stick with a flat panel and laptops... Mainframe ~ the brain child of Dean Bradley seems like something fresh out of my nightmares... an axe and keyboard wielding COMPUTER coming to get you. Luckily there is also something kind of cute about these little guys. See him in action (if animated gifs count as action) and some of the paintings this awesome character started out as. Now available over at our favorite purveyors of peculiar ~ StrangeCo.
Ninja Town! The Wee Ninja's of Shawnimals have come a LONG WAY since we first started writing about them. [You can see all the posts here]... apparently they are now well on their way to becoming a Wii Ninja (ok ok, i couldn't resist)... but they have a Ninja Town game coming out for Nintendo DS soon! (Trailer below!) And even more incredible... look at this cast! I can't stop laughing from the description of the Ninja Consultant... yes, he has one arm. And "For a fee, with powerpoint presentations and flow charts in tow he’ll show you ways to make your business process more efficient by using side steps, smoke bombs and stealth hugs." The new Ninja Town site is now up, with bios, icons, wallpapers, etc. And more images below as well for you.
OH! So, i LOVE StrangeCo, and the other day Jim sent me over a pdf of the upcoming Pete Fowler Monsterism 4: Pets & Owners collection, and i'd been meaning to post it, but... well anyhow, the HP Toyrama reminded me, so here it is! These little guys will be coming in special cylindrical pet food cans - and both pet and owner will be in there! (I can't wait to see the finalized packaging!) But for now, take a peek at the adorable pairs and their stories below. My fav pair? Hattie & Mr. Pasty: "Being a natural born beach kid Hatti likes nothing better than doing nothing."
This one goes out to all the Monsterism fans out there ~ apparently Pete Fowler has teamed up with HP and created HP Toyrama. I just spotted this over at StashMedia Feed and started making silly little movies. Far too fun and nicely done flash stop action movie making where YOU TOO can animate some Monsterism creatures... and win things. (LOTS of screenshots below of you're short on time.) According to the press release:
Singapore, Aug 2, 2007 – Embarking on magical adventures is not just for Shrek-like ogres and furry animals from Over the Hedge anymore as HP kicks off a unique contest that invites digital animators across Asia Pacific to create, design and direct short, animated skits using high-performance workstations and graphics tools.
Christened the HP Toyrama Contest, this online competition developed by Arc Worldwide Singapore challenges the best digital content creators in the region to create innovative and rich multimedia stop-motion animation starring five toy characters named Sancho, Farm Girl, Ranger, Jogger and Green from Monsterism Island, designed by cult toy designer, Pete Fowler. The contest has two categories – the Open segment, for enthusiasts, amateurs or students with a passion for animation; as well as the Professional segment, for the more proficient animators.
Just when i thought the Insurgent Wilderness Gruppo couldn't get any more enticing... they add Series 6, the IWG Baby CUBS! Each one will come with a sharp stick, marshmallow, and eyeball. Hehe. Also there will be FOUR additional Special 100 pc Editions of each character, including baby Nanook, son of Peary! Can't wait, and they were too cute not to share.