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28 OCTOBER 2015

The Free Universal Construction Kit

"Ever wanted to connect your Legos and Tinkertoys together? Now you can — and much more. Announcing the Free Universal Construction Kit: a set of adapters for complete interoperability between 10 popular construction toys.

F.A.T. Lab and Sy-Lab are pleased to present the Free Universal Construction Kit: a matrix of nearly 80 adapter bricks that enable complete interoperability between ten* popular children's construction toys. By allowing any piece to join to any other, the Kit encourages totally new forms of intercourse between otherwise closed systems—enabling radically hybrid constructive play, the creation of previously impossible designs, and ultimately, more creative opportunities for kids. As with other grassroots interoperability remedies, the Free Universal Construction Kit implements proprietary protocols in order to provide a public service unmet—or unmeetable—by corporate interests.

The Free Universal Construction Kit offers adapters between Lego, Duplo, Fischertechnik, Gears! Gears! Gears!, K'Nex, Krinkles (Bristle Blocks), Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, Zome, and Zoob. Our adapters can be downloaded from Thingiverse.com and other sharing sites as a set of 3D models in .STL format, suitable for reproduction by personal manufacturing devices like the Makerbot (an inexpensive, open-source 3D printer)."

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20123D printing • adapter brick • adapter bricks • adaptersagency of access and engagementbottom-up innovation • Bristle Blocks • building brick • childhood imagination • connector • construction set • construction system • construction toy • constructions set • disruptive innovationDIY • Duplo • Fischertechnik • freely available • freely downloadable • Gears Gears Gears • Golan Levingrassroots initiativehacktivismhybridityimpurityinteroperabilityinteroperable technologies • KNex • Krinkles • LEGO • Lincoln Logs • Makerbot • mash-upnew hybridityopen systems • personal manufacturing devices • Physibles • proprietary protocols • proprietary technologiesremix culturerethink boundaries • Shawn Sims • STUDIO for Creative Inquiry • Tinkertoys • toy • Universal Construction Kit • Zome • Zoo

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
04 MARCH 2015

SandyStation: an augmented reality sandbox

"Jedná se unikátní projekt dvou studentů, Petra Altmana a Roberta Ecksteina z fakulty aplikovaných věd Západočeské univerzity v Plzni, kteří jej prezentují pod názvem SandyStation. Jde zřejmě o vůbec první pískoviště na světě, u kterého můžete upravovat zdrojový kód, přehrávat firmware a především maximálně propustit uzdu své fantazii :–).

SandyStation efektivním způsobem využívá senzorů Kinectu, který je umístěný ve výšce zhruba 2 metrů nad boxem s obyčejným pískem a používá se ke sledování hloubky na snímané ploše. Pokud na pískovišti uděláte třeba bábovku nebo vyhloubíte díru, Kinect tuto informaci zpracuje a předá unikátnímu programu, jež objekty rozpozná a následně pošle potřebná data projektoru a vykreslí obraz do prostoru pískoviště. To vše se děje téměř okamžitě v reakci na činnost, kterou uživatel na pískovišti vykoná."

And as translated from Czech to English using Google Translate: "This is a unique project of two students, Peter Altman and Robert Eckstein from the Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of West Bohemia, who present it under the name SandyStation. This is probably the first ever sand in the world, where you can edit the source code, firmware and play primarily lay off up to your imagination :–).

SandyStation effective use of the Kinect sensor, which is situated at a height of about 2 metres above the box with ordinary sand and is used to monitor the depth on the scanned surface. If the sandbox you do need a cake or drilling our hole, Kinect processes this information and passes a unique programme that recognizes objects and then sends the necessary data projector and paint a picture of the space sandbox. It all happens almost instantly in response to the action that the user performs the sandbox."

(Jiří Hrma, 28 November 2011)

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2011applied sciences • AR Interactive Sandbox • augmented reality • colourful landscapes • contour linesCzech Republicdigital media experiencesexploratory learning experienceexplore and interactinteractive environmentsinteractive projection • interactive sandbox • kid-oriented experiences • Kinect 3D • Kinect sensor • object-based discoveryobject-based learningoverhead projector works • Peter Altman • Robert Eckstein • sand • sandbox • SandyStation • scientific visualisationtactile interactivetopographytoy • University of West Bohemia • video processing framework • video trackingvirtual modelvisual representations of scientific conceptsvolcano • Vrui VR • Xbox Kinect

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
16 DECEMBER 2014

Breathing Friend: stress relief ball by Czech industrial design student

Diploma Work created by industrial design student Kateřina Pražáková at the Czech Technical University, Prague in 2014.

"Tento malý přítel je určen jako dárek pro ženy trpící stresem. Může se pro nás stát blízkým tak jako hračka v dětství či pouze nástrojem, který nás nenásilnou formou dokáže uklidnit. Povrch si každý může vytvořit sám podle svých sympatií a tím se stává osobnější. Při uchopení tohoto křehkého dýchajícího stvoření můžeme příjemně relaxovat a na chvíli zapomenout na chaos kolem nás. Díky svojí velikosti jej můžeme mít stále u sebe."

And as translated from Czech to English using Google Translate: "This little friend is designated as gift for women suffering from stress. It may become for us so close like a toy in childhood or just tool that nonviolent us form can soothe. Surface everyone can create by himself their sympathy and becomes personal. In this gripping brittle breathing creature we can relax and moment, forget the chaos around us."

(Kateřina Pražáková, 2014)

[The project set out to address the problem of everyday stress through creating a stress relief ball called Breathing Friend. In doing so various materials were considered because of their significance for the target user group. The project has an anthropomorphistic aspect through its use of subtle vibration and physical warmth.]

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2014animal resemblancesanthropomorphismanxietyArduinobioelectronics • Breathing Friend (project) • calming effect • chestnut • Czech Republic • Czech Technical University in Prague • design process • embryo • emotional involvementergonomic designhaptic interface • hemisphere • industrial design • Katerina Prazakova • lifelikemechanical animal • mechanical creature • Miroslav Macik • motherhoodnatural materials • neurohumoral response • palm • pebble • polyurethane foam • product design • psychological distress • psychological perception • purring • selection of materials • siliconesimulation • soothing • stress • stress ball • stress relief • student projectsubstratestoytraumavisceral • wadding • wellbeingwool

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
18 JANUARY 2014

LEGO announces launch of THE SIMPSONS branded merchandise

"The LEGO Group today announced a new partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products to produce a construction set and licensed LEGO® minifigures inspired by the iconic television series, THE SIMPSONS. In addition, FOX is scheduled to air a special LEGO episode of THE SIMPSONS in May 2014 featuring Springfield and its cast of characters in LEGO form.

Scheduled to launch this February in LEGO stores and via the LEGO Shop at Home catalog and website, the construction set will recreate the iconic Simpsons family house in LEGO form. Also included in the LEGO and THE SIMPSONS construction set is the entire family: Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie along with neighbor Ned Flanders. A separate line of 16 LEGO THE SIMPSONS minifigures will launch in all mass toy retailers in May 2014."

(LEGO Group, 08 January 2014)

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2014 • Bart Simpson • branded merchandise • business partnership • cast of characters • characters with personalityconstruction setfamily housefigurine • Homer Simpson • iconic characters • iconic television series • LEGO • LEGO form • Lisa Simpson • Maggie Simpson • Marge Simpson • merchandise • minifigures • Ned Flanders • nuclear family • recreate favourite characters • recreationremediation • Springfield (fictional town) • The Simpsons (television)toy • toy retailer • Twentieth Century Fox

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
30 NOVEMBER 2013

Confiscation Cabinets: an exhibition of confiscated childhood objects

"Artist Guy Tarrant's display cabinets show artefacts gleaned from 150 different London primary and secondary schools over three decades. These objects include homemade games, keepsakes, cult toys, peculiar adornments, weapons and other forbidden objects which characterise the flotsam and jetsam of contemporary school children.

Since qualifying as a teacher, Guy Tarrant has investigated pupil interaction, play and resistant behaviour. The objects in the cabinets highlight mischievous and distracted behaviour played out in the controlled school setting where children spend much of their time. These confiscated items are evidence of the pupils' playful and impulsive activities and how they may reject or evade rules."

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ad-hoc • adornments • artefactsauthoritychildhood imagination • confiscated items • Confiscation Cabinets • confiscation drawer • controlcontrolled environments • cult toys • cultural significance of objectsdiscipline and punishmentdistracting attentiondistracting behaviourDIYfad • flotsam and jetsam • forbidden objects • Guy Tarrant • homemade bombs • homemade gamesimprovisation • impulsive activities • intriguing objects • keepsake • makeshiftmaterial culturemischievous behaviour • Museum of Childhood • personal cultural production • personal objects • plastic toysplayful activitiesprimary schoolpunishmentregulationresistant behaviourrulesschool children • school setting • secondary schoolsocial interactionsubversive actionssymbolic controltoy • toy guns • V and Aweapons

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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