Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two Toys for Design Joys

I'm always on the lookout for new toys.  (Of course it also helps that I'm the father of four children --- although my wife claims at times to have five children...) 

Toys can provide great examples of industrial and interactive design, as well as being jumping off points for exhibit prototyping projects or even for jazzing up team meetings.

So here are two cool toys I've been playing with recently for you to try out:

The Pumponator Balloon Pumping Station

This is a fun self-contained pump that lets you fill balloons with either air or water (depending on what you put in the bottom container.)  Simple and durable, I could see this being useful for science demonstrations or remote events.  

The second toy is called Big Bang Rocket and as the name implies, you can make some noise with it!

This clever toy let you load squares of newspaper (or other paper-like materials like leaves) into the "blast chamber."  Then you throw the Rocket into the air and it comes down on its squishy rubber top to force air blasting through the paper with a loud BANG!

I like the Big Bang Rocket because it's dead simple, but also because it works on a variety of ground surfaces whether they are soft (like grass) or hard (like a concrete driveway.)  Also you have some nice possibilities for experimentation by trying to get the optimum BANG!

So try out the toys above or take some time to troll through the aisles of your local toy store for some design inspiration  --- the worst thing that happens is you end up with a new toy to play with!

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