Connected Objects Toys

RC Brick moves building toys, couples smartphones with fun

Building blocks are the, well, building blocks of spatial learning for children. These toys are not only fun, but also allow kids to be creative while they learn to work with their hands.

RC Brick lets kids combine the fun of building things with the convenience of technology. This product works with most brick toys already on the market. It consists of motorized wheels that can move brick creations around. Using a charging cord, RC Brick plugs into any Apple or Android smartphone. The accompanying app lets the user control the movements of their RC Brick.

While this is a fun product that many kids will enjoy, it’s limited by the cord. RC Brick would do well to experiment with Bluetooth technology in order to make their device wireless. Backers will need to donate £27 (~$40) for the base model for estimated delivery in May 2015. RC Bricks hopes to raise £65,000 (~$97,400) on Kickstarter.


IKOS construction set offers arced pieces, tells other sets to hit the bricks

The Premise. Building toys are, at a first glance, perfect for young children. Somewhere along the way, however, adults began picking them up and using them to create and design new things. They offer kids a way to learn spatial patterns and adults a way to create and experiment with prototypes for their inventions.

The Product. IKOS is a building tool comprised of small pieces that lock together to create new shapes. The pieces are larger than typical building toys and come in different colors. IKOS used a modified geometrical polygon to come up with its design. These building blocks are curved and spherical, unlike most building toys which are typically flat.

The Pitch. The long campaign video shows how the adult mind behind IKOS, Mike Wong, enlisted the help of three high school students to help him create IKOS. His vision was to find a new kind of shape to create with, “How are we supposed to think outside of the box, when that’s all we have to design with?” Wong asks in the video. Despite the fact that two of the three high school students are women, the video boasts that the building tool is great for everyone including girls, hmm. The rest of the campaign shows a few of the million different things that can be made using IKOS pieces. IKOS hopes to raise $21,000 in its 32-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. As with other toy building products we’ve seen the past, IKOS offers different packages for different amounts of donations. The lowest priced Young Innovator package costs $22 and comes with 40 IKOS pieces in two colors. The Innovator package comes with 120 IKOS pieces at an early-bird price of $40 and regular price of $50. Other packages offer up to 2,500 IKOS pieces for keen future or current engineers. All have an estimated delivery date of July 2014.

The Potential. IKOS’s unique quality is that it offers a building block that isn’t flat like other building tools, presenting even more building opportunities to kids, professionals and adults alike. The company hopes to branch out by manufacturing the set using recycled materials which will give it even more of an edge in the future. We’ve seen lots of fun building tools on crowdfunding sites like Strawbees, Snaak and CubeCraft that offer designers the chance to dream up new creations easily. IKOS is a different kind of tool because of its curved shape and breathes new life into the building block market.


Snaak is not your child’s building block toy

editors-choiceThe Premise. Lego lovers, rejoice! This new interlocking toy is going to be one of the coolest inventions of this century. Legos have held their place in the toy-building history, but it’s time to develop something new for a generation of kids who live on computers.

The Product. The Snaak is made up of 64 interlocking transparent cubes that can be arranged in thousands of different shapes. By twisting and turning each cube, you can create almost infinite designs, and transform the blocks from one shape to the other very easily. They used the number 64 because it is the first number that is both a perfect square (8×8) and a cube (4x4x4). This leads to the many, many possible combinations of shapes. They supply the mathematical forum that tells the user how there are more possible combinations of this toy than there are atoms in the universe.

The Pitch. This Kickstarter video is made entirely out of stop-motion, which is essentially a series of still photographs run together very quickly. This really shows off a lot of different shapes, and because it is a black background with just the product and the hands, it really showcases the Snaak. However, the photos move very fast, so it’s difficult to tell exactly how you would move the pieces to configure the shapes. That being said, it does make you want to get your hands on one and play with it.

The Perks. Beyond the $25 early bird special, you can donate $45 and get a multi-colored Snaak (and pick the order of the colors), and for $100, you receive five of the Snaak sets. This toy is complex enough that it will entertain kids who are used to playing computer games, and you won’t be losing all of the pieces. This is also great for adults who like to do Rubiks’ Cube type toys that love the complexity and kinesthetic properties of toys like this.

The Potential. Snaak has broad appeal and even some potential prototyping functionality beyond its entertainment value. It’s easy to see it showing up in a wide range of retailers from Brookstone to Toys R Us. One gets the sense that once people get a taste of Snaak, they may be back for seconds!