toys

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Art Design

The Quirky Wooden Automata of Kazuaki Harada

February 28, 2018

Christopher Jobson

With the push of a button or the crank of a handle, these whimsical wooden automata by Japanese woodworker Kazuaki Harada spring to life, with figures that bounce and dance across a miniature stage like puppets. Harada is a prolific designer of mechanical designs fashioned from wood both large and small, from tiny single-crank pieces to giant labyrinthine playscapes in galleries and museums. The delight in many of his automata is derived from their simplicity, but lately he’s explored increasingly elaborate devices like a dot matrix printer and longer sequences akin to a Rube Goldberg machine.

Harada shares his latest work on Instagram and you can watch nearly a decade of his completed pieces on his YouTube channel. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

 



Design Science

Papier Machine: A Book of Six Interactive Electronic Paper Toys

January 16, 2018

Christopher Jobson

We’ve seen a wide gamut of paper project books lately, from shadows and cameras to planetariums and architectural models. Joining the DIY library today is Papier Machine, a collection of six interactive electronic paper toys all gathered together within the pages of a book developed by a trio of French designers. The various experiments are silkscreen printed on perforated paper and activated by button cell batteries, conductive silver ink, metal marbles, and other electronic components.

The six included gadgets include a piano “tuned” by hand-drawn graphite zones, a gyroscope, a marble track that plays sounds, a wind sensor, a centrifugal force track, and a tilt switch. Earlier versions of Papier Machine won Audi Talent and Red Dot Design awards, leading way to extra research and development in this final book which just launched on Kickstarter. (via It’s Nice That)

 

 



Art Design

Quirky Cartoon Toys and Vases Carved from Wood by Yen Jui-Lin

November 21, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Taiwanese artist Yen Jui-Lin carves delightful cartoon-like figures from wood that are almost guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Some of the pieces function as flower vases or key hooks, while many of the objects are one-off toys that he gives to his children as gifts. You can see many more on Jui-Lin’s Facebook page. (via Lustik)

 

 



Design

A Wind-Up Bamboo Passenger Pigeon by Haptic Lab

September 22, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

The Flying Martha Ornithopter is a mechanical toy that when wound, flaps its wings through the air just like a real bird. The simple invention is built entirely from bamboo and Mulberry paper, and released just like a paper airplane. The ornithopter was built by Haptic Lab to honor the very last passenger pigeon, Martha, who died while in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.

Haptic Lab believes the invention is symbolic of humanity’s role in a rapidly changing world. “Like our other projects at Haptic Lab, the Flying Martha ornithopter aims to connect people to their physical environment, to one another, and to the planet as a whole,” says the design studio. “The Flying Martha celebrates the spirit of invention and discovery essential to humanity’s survival and to the survival of our planet.”

Each ornithopter is built to reflect the true size of the extinct bird, with a wingspan of 16 inches. The handmade nature of the toy bird allows its user to customize its flight, solving problems to discover the invention’s best flight path. By a slight twist of the tail to the left or right, its flight course is altered, giving the owner full control of how the bird flies.

The project is currently raising funds on Kickstarter. You can see more projects by Haptic Lab on their website, Instagram and Facebook. (via Kottke)

 

 



Design

New Retro Technology LEGO Kits by Chris McVeigh

July 27, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Author, illustrator, photographer, and LEGO aficionado Chris McVeigh (previously) has added new retro technology kits to his cache of minimalist models, sets which include several decade-specific desktop set-ups and a boombox with multiple lego tapes. McVeigh even attempts to make each desk’s contents comply with the decade of its corresponding computer, like the version above which includes floppy disks which can be inserted into the computer, and a stack of computer manuals. You can view more of McVeigh’s lego kits (which also include different foods, bonsai trees, and video games) on his Facebook and Instagram.

 

 



Design

A Giant New 5,000-piece CMYK Color Gamut Jigsaw Puzzle by Clemens Habicht

May 31, 2017

Colossal

As a follow-up to his wildly popular 1,000 Color Puzzle, artist Clemens Habicht scaled-up his deviously complicated jigsaw by a factor of five with the new 5,000 Colors Puzzle. The vibrantly monstrous puzzle is comprised of 5,000 differently colored pieces that form a 6.5 x 2.5 foot CMYK color gamut. For hyper-dedicated puzzlers only. Now available in the Colossal Shop.

 

 



Design

Geometric Wood Toys by Designer Mat Random

April 26, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Argentina-based toy designer Mat Random has designed a new geometric wood figure as a follow-up to his previous piece The Feline, another posable toy that he has named The Simian. Due to similarly placed joints for the animals’ legs and head, parts can be swapped between the two breeds to create an entirely new hybridized creature. Each low poly work can also be posed on two or four legs by maneuvering the object’s nine components, adding a puzzle-like quality to the wooden toys. You can see more of Random’s designs on his website and Behance.