How the Pop It! Invaded Your Home

Blame a capuchin monkey and pandemic anxiety for the latest toy craze.

#dolls, #parenting, #social-media, #toys

Reuben Klamer, Mastermind of the Game of Life, Dies at 99

He developed an estimated 200 toys and other items, including a phaser rifle for “Star Trek.” But his best-known product was a game for “literally everyone on earth.”

#deaths-obituaries, #game-of-life-game, #games, #hasbro-inc, #inventions-and-patents, #klamer-reuben-1922-2021, #milton-bradley-co, #toys

Can Barbie Make It in Hollywood?

The toy giant Mattel is doubling down on its film and TV ambitions.

#barbie-doll, #kreiz-ynon, #lego-group, #mattel-inc, #movies, #toys

Love Letter: Finding Unconditional Love in a Plush World

And: Legally married at last.

#dating-and-relationships, #friendship, #marriages, #toys

Nostalgia, Inc.

“We kind of sell people’s childhood’s back to them.”

#239-play, #city-island-bronx-ny, #toys, #treiber-dan

Lego should snap up this rapid-fire brick-finding iOS app

Lego has worked extremely closely with Apple over the years, experimenting with unreleased iOS tech and demoing it onstage at launch events like WWDC; this has included some pretty heavy tinkering on the augmented reality ARKit platform that they’ve integrated several of their play sets with, adding digital experiences to the physical toys.

But one of the most impressive integrations between iOS tech and physical Lego bricks just popped up on the App Store, and it’s built by a team of fans. The new app Brickit is aiming to one-up what even the Lego Group has created with an app that uses computer-vision tech to quickly make sense of a mountain of bricks.

All users need to do is haphazardly dump Legos into a single layer on the floor. From there the app is able to quickly analyze and identify bricks in the collection and serve up some fun little projects that users have all or most of the bricks they need to build. The most impressive element of the app is its speed — the app is able to make sense of hundreds of bricks in a pile within seconds.

While I unfortunately don’t have access to a pile of Legos at the moment, a TechCrunch colleague demoed the app on iOS and had similarly smooth results to the demo above, with some added loading time in between discovery and when users are able to scroll through suggested projects. While navigating instructions, users are even pointed to the area in the brick pile that a particular needed piece is in.

What the Brickit team has done highlights the power of object recognition in the latest versions of iOS in a way that’s surprisingly useful for this very, very niche use case.

As is, the app is a bit limited by the fact that it’s a third-party design. The App Store’s disclaimer page is quick to specify that this is not an app built by the Lego Group and that its developers are just fans of the product, not employees of the company. Hopefully that’s enough to prevent Lego from overzealously siccing its lawyers on them, but given the app’s impressive use of Apple hardware, it really seems like the company would be better off acquiring the app.

There’s a lot more that Brickit could do with first-party access, mainly in terms of access to integrations with existing libraries of Lego instructions. With Lego’s 2019 acquisition of BrickLink, it’s clear the company has been aiming to capture more of the community fandom around aftermarket creations. Allowing the company to build up a database of the actual bricks that a user has in their possession, thus gaining some insights into the collections of sets that they own, would undoubtedly be valuable data to Lego.

For now the Brickit app is limited to iOS, but the company’s website indicates the team has aims to launch an Android app by the fall.

#android, #app-store, #apple-inc, #augmented-reality, #brands, #imessage, #lego, #lego-group, #software, #tc, #toys

Why Won’t Anyone Help Me in This Sex Shop?

At 83, and legally blind, I could use some assistance.

#dating-and-relationships, #love-emotion, #senses-and-sensation, #toys

Don’t Play With Your Kids. Seriously.

I have three kids under 10 who don’t expect — or even want — to play with me. It took some practice, but over time, we’ve all learned we’re better off doing our own thing.

#children-and-childhood, #parenting, #toys

How I Learned to Love Cardboard During the Pandemic

It was a key prop in my childhood games. Now I’ve decided to use it to make toys for my quarantined toddler.

#children-and-childhood, #toys, #wrestling

Squishmallows Are Taking Over

These huggable, collectible plush toys have cultivated a fandom in a year of grief, isolation and uncertainty.

#collectors-and-collections, #tiktok-bytedance, #toys

The Grocery Store of the Mind

Vicarious food shopping, from collectible Mini Brands to “Supermarket Sweep,” simulates a lost pleasure.

#collectors-and-collections, #mini-brands, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #supermarket-sweep-tv-program, #supermarkets-and-grocery-stores, #television, #toys, #zuru-inc

Mr. Potato Head Brand Goes Gender Neutral

Hasbro is dropping the Mr. from the Mr. Potato Head brand name and logo “to promote gender equality and inclusion,’’ the company said.

#dolls, #gender, #hasbro-inc, #mr-potato-head, #toys, #trademarks-and-trade-names

Mr. Potato Head Brand Goes Gender Neutral

Hasbro is dropping the Mr. from the Mr. Potato Head brand name and logo “to promote gender equality and inclusion,’’ the company said.

#dolls, #gender, #hasbro-inc, #mr-potato-head, #toys, #trademarks-and-trade-names

An Unofficial Ranking of the 10 Most Annoying Kids’ Toys

“A barn? A keyboard? A phone? What are you?”

#parenting, #toys

The Surprising Ascent of KAWS

Brian Donnelly went from tagger to blue-chip artist, riding the increasingly blurry line between commercial and fine art.

#art, #brooklyn-nyc, #content-type-personal-profile, #fashion-and-apparel, #graffiti, #kaws-1974, #perrotin-emmanuel, #toys

The Tiny Victories That Got Parents Through 2020

It’s been a rough year. Let’s celebrate the little wins.

#babies-and-infants, #children-and-childhood, #parenting, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #toilet-training, #toys

Dear Santa: It’s Been a Hard Year

In 23,000 letters addressed to the North Pole, collected through a U.S. Postal Service program, wish lists from children across the nation reflect the strain of this year.

#christmas, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #letters, #loneliness, #parenting, #postal-service-and-post-offices, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #santa-claus, #toys, #unemployment, #usps-operation-santa-claus

The Bittersweet Tale of a Diner, a Toy Shop and a Changing New York

One is expanding. One is closing. But not all is lost.

#dinosaur-hill-manhattan-ny-retailer, #east-village-manhattan-ny, #historic-buildings-and-sites, #middle-collegiate-church-manhattan-ny, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #restaurants, #shopping-and-retail, #toys, #ukrainian-americans, #veselka-manhattan-ny-restaurant

Are ‘Kidfluencers’ Making Our Kids Fat?

Popular YouTube channels often bombard young children with thinly veiled ads for junk food, a new study finds.

#advertising-and-marketing, #children-and-childhood, #fast-food-industry, #federal-trade-commission, #food, #obesity, #parenting, #toys, #youtube-com

Who Would Win in a Dinosaur Battle Royale?

A cheat sheet for parents of dino-obsessed kids.

#children-and-childhood, #content-type-service, #dinosaurs, #paleontology, #parenting, #toys

Going in-depth with Nintendo’s augmented reality Mario Kart RC car

The toy industry has given us plenty of radio-controlled cars that are modeled after the Mario Kart franchise. But the $100 Mario Kart Life: Home Circuit, announced last month, promises to be the first to integrate such a toy car with an augmented reality camera and attendant Switch game experience.

While we haven’t gotten any hands-on time with Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit yet, we were able to participate in a recent livestream demo of the RC car/AR app combo ahead of its planned October 16 release. What we saw doesn’t quite match up to a full-fledged Mario Kart game, but it looks like it could add a lot of creativity and imaginative play opportunities to the standard RC car experience.

On your mark…

The demo walked us through the Mario Kart Live setup process, which starts off by using the camera on the Kart to scan a QR code found on the free downloadable Switch app (that app won’t work at all without the Kart). With that scan, the Kart and Switch are connected directly via Wi-Fi, without the need for any router or live Internet connection.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#gaming-culture, #mario, #mario-kart, #nintendo, #toys

How to Diversify Your Toy Box

Ways to create a multiracial and multicultural spectrum in a child’s activities and toys.

#children-and-childhood, #content-type-service, #parenting, #parenting-play-package, #race-and-ethnicity, #toys

Play Therapy Can Help Kids Speak the Unspeakable

Play is the language of children — which is why play therapy can help kids speak the unspeakable.

#anxiety-and-stress, #children-and-childhood, #mental-health-and-disorders, #parenting, #parenting-play-package, #race-and-ethnicity, #therapy-and-rehabilitation, #toys

No, My Toddler Doesn’t Need to Learn to Code

Sales in educational toys are booming, but often there isn’t much weight to their claims of teaching kids science and math.

#children-and-childhood, #education-k-12, #mathematics, #parenting, #parenting-play-package, #robots-and-robotics, #rumors-and-misinformation, #science-and-technology, #toys, #youth

Making Summer Fun Out of Plastic Trinkets and Sugary Cereal

As myriad activities are restricted this summer, there’s no shame in the game when it comes to creatively keeping up morale.

#children-and-childhood, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #education-k-12, #parenting, #summer-season, #toys, #treehouses

The Types of Plastics Families Should Avoid

If it seems like plastic is everywhere, that’s because it is. But there are easy ways to limit your exposure.

#babies-and-infants, #baby-foods, #chemicals, #children-and-childhood, #containers-and-packaging, #food, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #parenting, #pregnancy-and-childbirth, #research, #toys

Move Over, Unicorns. Llamas Rule the Toy Business Now.

How a less-than-magical creature became the it animal for kids.

#llamas, #parenting, #social-media, #toys

The Sunday Read: The Battle Over the Sea-Monkey Fortune

A story as crazy as it sounds.

#toys