Connected Objects Toys

It’s your very own light show with the GLOW smart cubes

If someone didn’t know any better, they’d think cubes were the only form crowdfunding campaigns were aware of. With such a large variety of already clever cube-shaped devices like the Sugr Cube wireless speaker to the LED-studded Cuberox, it takes something truly innovative to stand out.

The GLOW interactive smart cubes try to do so but fall a little flat. They react to music and gestures, lighting up in a wide array of colors at various levels of luminosity depending on the stimulus. The company behind GLOW, Yume Cloud Inc., envisions it being used as a device to be played with, a piece of decorative flair for the home or even larger events like weddings, or simply as a visual accompaniment to music at, say, a concert. A set of two GLOW cubes is going for $106 and is expected in April 2016 should its $20,000 goal be met by February 3rd, 2016.

While the accompanying iOS/Android app can be used to play games with the cubes, the product seems like a throwaway. It doesn’t bring anything completely new to the table. Backers would most likely want something with a bit more functionality, and the GLOW doesn’t quite deliver.


CubeCraft brings Minecraft-style blocks to the real third dimension

The Premise. Plenty of kids love to play with Legos and blocks. But toys in that realm are meeting their match, because, until now, we were bound by the lockable structures on the bottom or, quite frankly, by physics.

The Product. Inspired by the wildly popular game Minecraft (for which kids show a special fondness), CubeCraft seeks to push the bounds of limitation by giving you small blocks that can be arranged in any way. Each cube has magnets sealed inside that allow you to build structures that wouldn’t be possible with non-magnetic blocks. You can combine the individual blocks into one larger block, use that to build a base, and then continue on using the smaller blocks. CubeCraft cubes can also be further customized with stickers, LEDs or other geekery.

The Pitch. The CubeCraft campaign itself builds primarily off two videos — a still-heavy unnarrated one that shows many configurations of the progress and a secondary one that introduces the creators and provides a lot of information. The partners tell how they came together, what they’re asking for, how their designs are safe for children over the age of 5, what your funding will go toward, and how these blocks could be used to ease stress or in the classroom. Sure, the developers may be a little camera shy, but they know a lot about their products and showcase them as well as they can.

The Perks. For $27, you receive the “stress” set (the name of which proves they’re marketing these toys to adults as well). It consists of eight cubes and would be great for people who need something to do with their hands while they’re working. The prices and set sizes go up from there, $121 for the “inventor set” with 64 cubes and $299 for the classroom set with 216 pieces. These toys would definitely spark imagination in children and adults alike.

The Potential. New toys that aren’t digital are in high demand. Many parents don’t want their kids on computer games all the time, but kids are bored by regular blocks. CubeCraft would definitely keep the kids interested and the parents happy.