Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Tag: toys

BeeWi Combat Toys

Posted by Andrew at 11:58 AM on January 24, 2014

BeeWi LogoTodd and Don have some fun with Tobias Schoeler from French wireless specialists, BeeWi, and on show at CES are Bluetooth battle robots. Controlled from a smartphone app, the robots can fight against themselves or other BeeWi remote controlled toys including helicopters. Very cool and lots of fun.

The robots will be available in the first half of 2014 priced at US$35 and will be supported on Android, iOS and Windows Phone devices. More information and more toys at www.bee-wi.com.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor, and Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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The Royal Baby

Posted by Andrew at 12:25 AM on July 23, 2013

With the world going ga-ga (or goo-goo) over the Royal baby, it’s inevitable that memorabilia and souvenirs will start appearing in short order. However I was somewhat surprised that my first promotional email, received just a scant two hours after the announcement, was not a medallion or plate but a toy from The Early Learning Centre, a children’s store. Check out this commemorative set, the HappyLand Royal Baby Set.

HappyLand Royal Baby Set

Congratulations to the ELC’s marketing team for their rapid response to the happy event.

 

The My Learning Table by D-Redshop

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 12:27 PM on February 23, 2013

My Learning TableD-Redshop introduced their newest learning device for children, the My Learning Table. They took the idea of the old fashion learning table by Fisher Price and brought it into the twenty-first century. The table works in conjunction with the My Learning App available on the iPad which goes in the middle of the table. The My Learning App has different games to play depending on the learning level of the child. Each game helps the child to learn something like the alphabet, numbers, color matching, eye-hand coordination and more. It is based on the award system. The idea is to integrated touch with physical interaction. Children learn while have fun at the same time. The My Learn Mini is similar to the My Learning Table, expect that the mini is separate from the tablet. Great for times and circumstances when the My Learn Table is not practicable. It works with the My Learning Mini App on the iPad.

The My Learning Table should be available for around $100.00 at various retail stores. D-redshop the maker of the Learning Table is looking for developers to develop apps for the My Learning suite. Further information about developing for the My Learning suit is available contacting D-Redshop.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net and Daniel J. Lewis of the The Noodle.mx Network and the Audacity to Podcast

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Modular Robotics: Cubelets Robotic Construction Kits

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 10:16 AM on February 18, 2013

Modular Robotics Modular Robotics have created small robotic cubes that can be hooked together using magnets. Each cube is program to do a different task including a drive block, a battery block, a block that senses distance and more. The cubelets can be used by young kids who simply snap the blocks together, but they are also programmable making them great for a student or adult that is learning to code. The newest cubelet is a bluetooth block which can be controlled remotely. There is an Android app, the Cublet Control which you can use as a control.  The bluetooth cubelet can be re-coded using C code. Modular Robotics have found that when they give the cubes to kids, they just attack them and start linking them together. Adults are more cautious in using them.

The starter kit has six blocks in it and is sold on the website for $160.00. Modular Robotics also sells individual cubes. They hope to have the product in toy stores by the holiday season. All production is done in Boulder, Co. If you a young child who is interested in how things work or a student who is starting to learn basic programming then Modular Robotics’ cubelets maybe the perfect gift for them.

Interview by Nick DiMeo of F5 Live.

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Fisher Price Kid-Tough® DVR Demo @ CES 2012

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 9:05 AM on January 18, 2012

Fisher Price
Leave it to Fisher Price maker of great toys for kids and the kids in all of us to make a DVR that is kid friendly. That is what they were showing at CES 2012 the Kid-Tough® DVR.

The Kid-Tough® DVR is made for 3-5 year olds. It is rugged and easy to use. There is a touch screen kids can use to scan through the available videos. When they are ready to play a video just tap on the screen and it will start playing. They can also fast forward or rewind through a video. To record a video you just place the DVR into its dock which sits between your cable box and the TV, set the record time and hit record.

The Kid-Tough® DVR will be available around June-July. It will be approximately $150.00 and include the DVR, headphones, docking station, a car charger and a case. If you have a small child and take a lot of car trips this is worth a look

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central

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Angry Birds Christmas Goodies

Posted by Andrew at 1:38 AM on December 2, 2011

If you can’t get enough of Rovio‘s Angry Birds (or Angly Birds as my daughter says), then you can satisfy your avian needs over at the Angry Birds on-line store. I’ve seen Angry Birds toys gradually appearing in shops, but I’d no idea there was such a wide range of things, from the expected soft toys to children’s costumes.

Angry Birds Fancy Dress Costume

Anyway, as we’re now officially in the run-up to Christmas, the Angry Birds store has a festive selection from Christmas stockings to tree decorations.

Blue Bird Christmas StockingChristmas Tree Decorations

The Bad Piggies Egg Recipes looks like an eggscellent (sorry) stocking-filler with around 40 egg-based recipes from the classics to the more interesting – the table of contents is shown on the website.

Bad Piggies Egg Recipes

There’s plenty of other merchandise to choose from too, including iPhone cases and flip-flops! Prices feel a little high at times for what are novelty items but the shop does appear to ship worldwide.

Magazines are iPads That Don’t Work

Posted by Andrew at 10:11 AM on October 17, 2011

Watch the video below and let me know how you feel after watching it, but for the purposes of discussion, remember two things first. One, to avoid any pro- or anti-Apple bias, ignore the fact that it’s an Apple iPad and assume that it’s just a generic tablet. Two, take what the video shows at face value as one could easily make a case that some of the actions with the magazines are normal behaviour and don’t show anything special.

Add your comments below. I’ll chip in later.

Quirky – Social Product Development

Posted by Andrew at 3:42 PM on May 23, 2011

I love these entrepreneurial websites such as Kickstarter. It’s a vicarious pleasure in seeing other people’s ideas and helping these people succeed by investing in their products. I found a new one today – Quirky – which I think takes the idea development to the next level. Quirky refer to it as a “A Socially Developed Product (TM)” and they help you take a product from the idea through product development to production and sales.

Here’s Quirky’s product development process.

The Quirky Process (courtesy of Quirky)

What seems to be unique about Quirky (and to be fair, I haven’t exhaustively researched the topic) is that part of the process is to encourage feedback from Quirky members to improve the product. They call it “community curation”. It’s a great idea especially if it leads to better products.

Taking it further, Quirky has this notion of influence. You earn influence by submitting ideas or commenting on products, and influence converts into a proportion of the profit from those objects that you worked on. The explanation is a bit opaque in places and I’d be interested to see what sort of money people make but it seems to be way to reward everyone who helped make the product a success.

There are some really interesting products on the site and the one that currently has my eye is the Converge docking station. It’s probably less docking station and more charging station but it looks great and solves a problem that many of us have.

The Converge is in pre-sale and so far it looks like it has garnered only 69 orders out of the 1300 needed to put it into production, so I don’t know how many products actually make it from pre-sale to production.

Overall, I like the idea and I’ll be following along but with all of these things, exercise caution. If you’ve got a great idea, it might be an excellent place to get a product into the market. But you need to read the small print and understand ownership of the intellectual property and design, your portion of the profit and so on – I haven’t delved into any of these things yet. If you aren’t happy, walk away.

Sifteo – The Future of Play

Posted by Andrew at 4:29 PM on January 6, 2011

“The Future of Play” might be putting it a bit too strongly but Sifteo’s interactive and interacting cubes certainly look a great deal of fun. Each 1.5″ cube is a little computer with a small colour display, rechargeable battery and the ability to sense motion, other cubes and connect wirelessly to a PC or Mac. Once you put all this together there’s endless possibilities for games and puzzles.

There’s a video on the home page of the website which fleshes out how the cubes can work together. It’s definitely worth checking this out and the rest of the site to understand what happens.  It seems that you need to start with at least three cubes to start having fun and you can have up to six working together. Sifteo has six games announced on the website with more to come. When not in use they cubes can dock in a recharging cradle. A single charge lasts about 4 hours.

From the press release, it seems that co-founders, David Merrill and Jeevan Kalanithi first came up with the prototype for the cubes when studying at the MIT Media Lab. During their research they realized that the way people typically interact with physical objects i.e. picking them up to examine and arrange them, had not been explored by gaming companies.  “Traditional game consoles have lost the tangible and interactive nature of classic tabletop games like Mahjong and dominoes, that bring people together,” said Jeevan Kalanithi, co-founder of Sifteo. “Players tell us that Sifteo cubes reduce screen stare, banish tired thumbs and give families and individuals a more natural way to have fun,” said Kalanithi.

I would absolutely agree with this. After playing “computer” games for many years, I’ve recently had to return to more real-world games courtesy of 3 year old. Although her games aren’t very sophisticated, it’s fun to have fun with someone else.

The Sifteo cubes are competing at CES in the Last Gadget Standing contest and they’ve managed to make it through to the top ten.  Good luck guys!

Yesterday, Sifteo opened an Early Access programme and then closed it the same day. That’s how popular they were.  Frankly, I’m annoyed that I didn’t get in on the action….

Hard Disk Clocks

Posted by Andrew at 6:54 AM on November 9, 2010

Looking for a Christmas gift for a geeky friend? Then take a look at these clocks made from hard disk drives and their circuit boards.

Made from old hard drives – a 2.5″ laptop unit and 3.5″ SCSI drive respectively, these are for sale on Etsy for $15.  The vendor several other IT-themed clocks, so if you fancy a keyboard or circuit board clock, check out his shop.

It’s kind of ironic that a device used to operating at the millisecond level is now marking time of a much greater magnitude.