All posts filed under “Toys

Sound Interjection, Yuri Suzuki

Last week Yuri Suzuki had his first major show open in London (KK Outlet) until the end of September. Featuring some old works and new ones, each giving a playful physical interaction with sound, such as…

Colour Chaser
Colour Chaser

Colour Chaser detects and follows black line whilst it reads the colour and translate the colour RGB data into sound.” video below.

rec & play
rec & play

rec & play“, a collaboration with Oscar Diaz, using magnetic ink, REC (red) pen records sound and PLAY (black) pen plays the recorded sound. Video shown below.

Plus many more sound devices. Photos of the exhibition opening here.

ScribbleBots

Scribblebot

I saw ScribbleBots, a design concept project from MA student Jon Cumberpatch, quite a while ago but its been sat at the back of my mind for a while as I’m sat on the fence about it, slightly leaning in one direction. I wanted to post it as I’ll be writing a whole series on drawing over the coming months.

“The aim of the Project was to encourage more adults to draw”. Watch the video.

Step 1 – Put a pen in the device and do your drawing on the paper. The wheels pressing against the surface record the motion paths as vectors.
Scribblebots

Step 2 – Upload your drawing paths to the website
Scribblebots

Step 3 – Download drawing paths from the website. Load on to the machine and it will draw out by navigating with the wheels. You are then free to doodle on the top of someone’s images (by hand, or I guess the device again).
Scribblebots

It’s a nice concept. I can see it working in those pass it on style games, where I do a drawing and pass it on, you modify and pass it on to someone else. I also favor the pen drawn approach to just printing out the image.

However drawing with it doesn’t look so natural (pen upright), and if it works the drawings would be too perfect, its nice to have the randomness of the human hand. Also, wouldn’t the paper move underneath?

Bigshot Camera

Bigshot Camera

When I was a little boy of 10, I (for a short time) joined the young engineers club at our school. Yes not the football team, the engineering club :) One day they took us to the workshops of a large Uk energy provider and they showed us how simple circuits work, then using educational kits we soldered our own FM radios. This is a really great way to learn and more of this should be done in schools, kids aren’t given enough credit for what they can achieve on their own I feel. By knowing how to things work we have a better understanding of the world. This is why I like the migon game kit so much.

Digital cameras for children tend to look like this (some times for a good reason), but wouldn’t it be great if they could build their own camera and understand how everything works, learn how to take photos & what makes a good image, how to apply filters & share photos with friends?

Recently I stumbled upon the Bigshot camera & initiative, started up by Shree Nayar at the Computer Vision Laboratory at Columbia University…

“A camera designed for kids can be much more than just a toy: it can serve as a powerful educational medium. We believe that such an educational camera must have a radically different design from that of a typical consumer camera. (a) It should be designed as a kit for assembly by students. The assembly process should not only demystify the workings of the camera, but also expose students to various science and engineering concepts. (b) It should include features that cannot be found in other cameras, allowing students to explore new creative dimensions. (c) It should be low-cost, with the potential to serve as the basis for a scalable social venture.”

The website breaks the process down into very nice clear sections, build, learn, use, share. I’m excited about the possibilities of this making it into schools worldwide. For now it says “The Bigshot camera prototypes shown here are being used in workshops and are not on sale”, but I will do an update when more word on release becomes available.

For now take 5 mins out of your day to watch this video.

Bigshot camera

Friends With You

Friends With You

How much do I enjoy the work of Friends With You? More than chocolate & cake, that’s how much. If I could, I’d live inside one of their spaces instead of grey old Britain.

“Established in 2002 by Miami-based artists Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, FriendsWithYou set forth on a mission to spread the idea of Magic, Luck, and Friendship™ around the world, and become Friends-With-You!”

Yes they do quirky & playful character design, lots of plush toys & merchandise, great animations, but aside from this there are 2 things that I’m happy to see.

1) As artists, they have managed to straddle (successfully) the art world and commercial brand activities, keeping integrity in their work and the way they diversify in their products…

“As leaders in developing a new approach that crosses Fine Art, Commercial Work for Hire, and Intellectual Property Brand Development, FriendsWithYou holds a prominent well-respected place in the merging worlds of art and business” – from company page.

2) “FriendsWithYou experiential installations are fully immersive experiences that draw audiences into a magical world where the line between imagination and reality is blurred”

Have are some of my favourites…

Rainbow Valley
Friends With You
“Rainbow Valley is a permanent playground installation at Aventura Mall in Miami, Fl. This is our first-ever dream playground brought to life! Rainbow Valley tells the enchanting story of a miniature mountain who loses his family and goes on a search for other small mountains to play with. This adventure is filled with rainbow blasts, magic, and earth moving moments! If you’re in Aventura Mall, go check it out!”

Fun House
Friends With You
“Our FriendsWithYou Fun House is the most fun art piece you will ever experience (and it’s for big kids too)!”

Skywalkers
Friends With You
“In 2006 we opened Art Basel Miami with an out-of-this-world inflatable procession! Skywalkers, commissioned by Toyota Scion, featured 18 giant blimps (designed by FriendsWithYou & our artist friends), over 300 volunteers, a high school marching band, and thousands of attendees all working together..”

Friends With You

They even have a new boutique store in Miami (see below)…

Friends With You

Drawing tables & furniture

Right now I am doing a lot of research around approaches to drawing. So, here is a summary post of drawing tables and things you can draw on…

Childrens Paper Chair
Childrens Paper Chair
“The chair encourage people to buy environmental friendly products, intended to make a comment on our use of paper, is shaped as a toilet-roll. As the paper is being used the size of the toilet-roll increases, such the small child sits on a small roll and the older child on a bigger roll! The Chair is made with drawing paper, as the paper is being “drawn upon”, the size of the front cylinder increases and thus follows the child’s growth”

Stencil Play Table & Spira Dining Table
Stencil Play Table & Spira Dining Table
“The Stencil Play Table allows sheets of A1 paper to be placed under the removable acrylic table top, which comes in a variety of large themed stencils, and spirograph set. Children can use the stencils to either colour in using crayons or felt tips, or to draw around the patterns and paint the pictures after removing the stencils. A shelf underneath is used to store a stack of paper.”

Porcupine Desk
Porcupine Desk
“The table surface shows a printed motif resembling a charm bracelet, with animal shapes and other symbols attached to a chain link circle. Some of the links in the chain are bored through the tabletop, so that coloured markers supplied with the desk can be stored in the holes. Add a little imagination, and the table resembles a porcupine— which is what inspired the name.”

Technically not to draw on, but I like the pens in the table.

Charles Storage
Charles Storage
Kids toy box inside and chalk drawing surface on top.

Desk House
Desk House
“Our re-creation of our universal ‘first drawing’ of the square house with its chimney and winding garden path…Available in 2 sizes, this is the perfect table to show your child the pleasure of reading, drawing, and sharing. At the same time, it is the ideal playhouse, to be lived under and played with”

Chalk Spinner
Chalk Spinner
“The Chalk Spinner is an interactive classroom element that brings play and learning together. This spinning 3-D cylindrical chalkboard is an innovative educational center that promotes creative thinking and the discovery process. The Chalk Spinner offers many activities aimed to encourage drawing, refine coordination, and develop social skills. It keeps kids and their imaginations active while teaching basic art elements and techniques. Its unique rotating motion inspires kids to explore and discover.”

Paperstorm
Paperstorm
“A total of 2.600 single sheets, each 50 x 100 cm build a table with 40 cm height, which stands on a flat stainless steel base. Stay-down rolls let the table stay movable. This is especially important for the positioning in the children’s room. The selected paper from IGEPA is produced out of Eucalyptus trees, which are planted as renewable raw materials on special ecologically certified plantations.”

See also writingtable and Little Genius.

Musical Toys

Original Soundtrack

Quite a few blogs have been posting the concept Original Sound Track from Ricardo Seola recently (shown above). Watch video. A wooden toy train moves across a track, with its front teeth plinking across pegs on the track, inspired by a music box. You can then tack the track and build different layouts to alter the order of musical sequences.

The concepts reminds me of a combination of…

Soundchaser

Sound Chaser, from Yuri Suzuki : watch video (vehicle drives around re-configurable vinyl to play audio).

And …

MiniOrgan.com

MUSIK LOK (1972)
“The little train has a small 8 note keyboard on the bottom. As it drives along the track, the coloured switches push the keys, so you get your own programmed melody. In other words, this is an analog step sequencer for 3-year old children”

(posted here)

PhoneBook

PhoneBook

PhoneBook is a nice concept from Mobile Art Lab in Japan. Its such a simple idea, to combine a Iphone with a childs picture book. You put the phone inside the book itself, with a window to the screen acting as a little portal within the book. Then whilst flipping through the pages to match the scene on the screen, you can use the touchscreen & tilt sensors to interact with the animations.

WiiWaa

The Nintendo Wii is a great step in the right direction for games for everyone, from little babies to my grand parents. Taking away the mass of complicated controls and adding gesture control into a shape most consumers are familiar with (remote controls) was clever. Yet I still feel there could be issues of very young children playing with the WiiRemote as its still an electronic looking device with buttons and safety straps.

So I was happy to see WiiWaa from Swedish developers Zoink Games today.

Put your WiiRemote inside the mouth (not bottom) of a soft toy…
WiiWaa

And the toy then becomes a sort of virtual puppet, using the tilt & accelerometer sensors to control the on screen character in a variety of ways & situations. Watch video

WiiWaa

Apparently to be released next year, although little details so far. Conceived & created by Klaus Lyngeled. Funded by the Nordic Game Program.

Losing my marbles

Two great concepts that take boring household objects and make them playful using marbles…

xylophone bin
The Xylophone Bin (2008) by Dominic Wilcox

“When the pedal is pressed the lid opens, releasing a ball that travels down a ‘helterskelter’ set of xylophone steps around the bin. Each time the ball hits a step, a note is played. The xylophone steps are cut in increasing lengths so that the note gets deaper as the ball gets closer to the bottom”.

Created for a VIPP Charity auction in NewYork to raise money for Chernobyl Children’s Project International and Foodbank NYC.

marbelous

Marbelous (2008) by Ontwerpduo

“The world of adults furniture and the world children’s toys don’t seem to belong together.
From my childhood I remember it was always exiting to combine these two. I used the woodcarvings of furniture as a playfield for my puppets, to play in a new world. With this feeling in mind we created a concept for a new piece of furniture.
We invented these functional woodcarvings. It is decoration you can play with. They applied woodcarvings in a piece of furniture that combines the world of adults with the world of the children. A marble track in a table. A new type of functional woodcarving, that invites you to play”.

marbelous

Of How We Have to Leave Doubts, Expectations and the Unachieved

Of How We Have to Leave Doubts, Expectations and the Unachieved

In 2005 I wrote about Printball by the talented Benjamin Gaulon, a sort of ink jet printer using a computer controlled paint ball gun. In 2008 Nvidia/Mythbusters (may have been) inspired by this and produced the same piece, but also a super charged Mona Lisa version.

André Gonçalves last year created the installation Of How We Have to Leave Doubts, Expectations and the Unachieved.

Watch video.

Of How We Have to Leave Doubts, Expectations and the Unachieved

From the website…
“Motion detection sensors track the presence of visitors in the space, after this detection the fans inside the balloon aquarium start to spin, making the balloons inside it float, a smaller directional fan by the opening of the aquarium is running at full speed in order to push one balloon out, after a few seconds the fans started spinning the aquarium door opens through a pulley system controlled by a servo motor. An infrared proximity sensor, located right outside the door, tracks when the balloon exits the aquarium and triggers the pulley system to close it’s door as well as triggers the fans outside the aquarium to spin at their full power.
Due to the wind generated by all the industrial fans on the floor the balloon is forced to float beside the wall and enter the camera field of vision”.

Of How We Have to Leave Doubts, Expectations and the Unachieved

“As soon as this happens the computer, receiving the image from the camera analizes the incoming data and calculates the distance, angle and speed of the ballon, then based on the gun current position calculates the best spot for intersecting the ballon, after this calculation the computer sends the intersection position to the motors that control the gun aiming position and shoots. if the it fails it will shoot again until the balloon is blown away or this manage to leave the camera’s field of vision”.

Of How We Have to Leave Doubts, Expectations and the Unachieved