Have hundreds of Facebook friends and still feel lonely and bored? Well, that's not new. What is new is the fact I probably have just what you want. It's a robotic penguin which, apart from being cute, can bring Facebook connections to life, quite literally.
About the size of a small chicken egg and taking the shape a penguin, the new device is called Pingo. It's an interactive electronic playmate that can move around your desk, express moods, respond to voice commands, sing songs, and read aloud e-mail messages, headlines, stock quotes, and weather.
Despite its little … Read more
With the holiday shopping season creeping up, you may have a child on your shopping list who longs for a special toy. However, you may worry that the toy you are considering is unsafe for your child and perhaps the environment. Thankfully, there are resources online that offer advice on which products may be unsafe to your child.
If you're a parent, this set of resources is definitely worth checking out.Keep Kids Safe
Consumer Product Safety Commission There is probably no better place to go first when looking for safe children's toys than the U.S. government's Consumer Product Safety Commission page.
When you get to the CPSC site, you'll be able to search for all the recalls and issues that have arisen with toys. You can also see some of the most recent recalls by simply clicking on the appropriate month above the search box. In either case, the site lists all the recalls during the specified period, why it was recalled, and information on how to return the item. The site also features images of the products to help you determine if the toy you've purchased is of concern. Even better, you can follow the CPSC on Twitter or Facebook to receive updates on new recalls as they are announced. The CPSC Web site, while poorly designed, is a must-see for any parent.
GoodGuide If you're looking for data on what you should be providing your kids with, GoodGuide is the place to be.
GoodGuide offers a listing of healthy foods, household products, and toys that are suitable for children. GoodGuide's Toy section lists the level of lead, mercury, chlorine, and other harmful chemicals in the toy. Green means the toy doesn't have contain the respective harmful chemical, while red means that there are high levels of a chemical in a toy. You can also dig down into each listing to determine if the company that created the product has a good reputation. I was impressed by the number of toys GoodGuide offered. I think any parent will like GoodGuide.… Read more
Souptoys is a fun and imaginative game in which users manipulate all kinds of onscreen toys with delightful effects. In a world where violent children's games are all too common, Souptoys is refreshingly innocent and surprisingly fun.
Souptoys isn't a game as much as a set of onscreen toys, as is suggested by the fact that its components are kept in a virtual toy box. What will you find in the toy box? Anything you'd find in a real one: balls, stuffed animals, blocks, roller skates, and much more, plus a few things you probably wouldn't … Read more
Oh my awesome! If you're looking to turn your digital SLR into a toy camera, Lomography's new adapters for Diana F+ lenses let you do it for cheap. They were announced a few days ago, but that doesn't make them any less cool.
The $12 adapters are available for Canon EOS and Nikon F-series dSLRs and can be used with the Diana F+ Fisheye, Telephoto, Wide, Close-Up, and Super Wide lenses. Kits with an adapter and a lens can be purchased for between $50 to $60 depending on lens type.
Back at CES in January, there was some hype surrounding some new mind-control products that were due to arrive before the holiday season. Well, two of the more prominent ones, the Star Wars The Force Trainer and Mattel's Mindflex are now shipping.
While images of youngsters decked out in full Star Wars regalia, showing off their Jedi-like powers may seem rather amusing, the question remains whether telekinesis toys and games will become the next big thing--or not.
Both products require you to strap on a lightweight headset that contains sensors to measure your brainwave activity. Focus your concentration, and … Read more
SAN FRANCISCO--Most of the new ventures launching at the TechCrunch50 conference are standalone Web sites, but not all. In years past there have been the few hardware launches, and this year is no different. Here are two new bits of hardware, and a new hardware platform that are gunning to make their way into your living room and office in the coming months.
iTwin is a two-piece bit of USB hardware that acts as a "cableless cable" allowing two computers to connect and share files as long as they have an Internet connection. There's nothing to set up, since both halves of the device are paired together and stay constantly connected. Users just plug it in, and can begin dropping files large and small into a shared folder.
The product will be available beginning early next year for $99, and comes with two paired sides that interlock when not in use. If users lose one of the two sides, they can lock down their account with an SMS message, or by disconnecting the other piece. They can also purchase an additional side, which can be re-paired.
ToyBots is a new gaming platform that lets toy manufacturers plug in their toys to an online network. Much like the Pleo, the personality of the toy can be altered by firmware upgrades, which are directly connected to the Web. Users can then play games and get feedback from their toy, as well as purchase and download new personalities and applications.
The company is hoping to get toy manufacturers on board as partners, and get them to start using the standard firmware profile across their entire line of toys. This would do two big things: let users re-use firmware or applications they've purchased for one toy, onto another, as well as keep money coming in even after a consumer has purchased a toy. … Read more
With Microsoft and Sony both slashing prices on their respective consoles, it's no surprise that Nintendo appears to be following suit. Last month, we explained why we think the Wii needs a price drop, and it sounds like we aren't the only ones who think so.
Just today, a tipster sent Kotaku a blurry photo of a Toys R Us circular clearly indicating a $50 price drop for the Nintendo console, bringing it down to $200. Since the circular is dated for the last week in September, the new price could go into effect on September 27.
A $… Read more
This week marks the latest release in the Rock Band series (see our hands-on). It features one of the biggest names in music--The Beatles. It also features pack-in instruments that continue to look more and more like their real-life counterparts.
Rock Band was definitely not the first video game to necessitate special hardware, nor will it be the last. Below we've put together a list of some of the most innovative peripherals and hardware that have helped change the way we play games. Some went on to become big, while others failed or were martyrs to future incarnations that … Read more
I know it's hard to prevent your children from gaining an early fascination with drugs, violence, weapons, World of Warcraft, and illicit personal behavior.
The phenomenon that is Webkinz is but one brave attempt.
In case you inhabit a particularly large hole in Nova Scotia, Webkinz turns your children into loving, caring humans online.
On the Webkinz site, your children can look after their new pets. Well, as long as they buy the physical, three-dimensional stuffed version at a friendly neighborhood store.
So it is my heartfelt privilege to be able to tell you that should you choose to … Read more