Archive for Toys

Fidget for Productivity

Fidget Cube is an “unusually addicting, high-quality desk toy” that is designed to help one stay productive while working.  This innovative toy was designed by millennial entrepreneurs Matthew and Mark McLachlan who call themselves “Antsy Labs.”  According to their website, each side of this cube has something different to fidget with, so that one can “Click. Glide. Flip. Breathe. Roll. Spin.”

These innovators came up with the idea for Fidget Cube after learning that many people have an urge to constantly be fidgeting with something.  This could be anything including pens, keys, or even bubble wrap.  The problem is that one’s fidgeting can be a huge distraction to those around him.  Although one may say that the best solution is to break the habit of fidgeting, research has shown that those who have something to fidget with are actually more productive and perform better on tests.

Matthew and Mark first launched their idea for Fidget Cube on KickStarter at the end of August and have since raised over six million dollars from more than 154,000 backers.  The product is now beginning to ship to the individuals who first backed them on KickStarter.  By creating this innovative product, Matthew and Mark’s hope is that they will provide individuals who have a tendency to fidget at class, work, or home with an alternative device for fidgeting that is both discrete and not distracting.

These millennial entrepreneurs inspire me to keep looking for ways to innovate by simply seeking out problems and pain that individuals face in everyday life.  Most great ideas and discoveries do not suddenly appear, but rather develop from one being observant of his environment and taking note of any hunches that he might have.

More information regarding the Fidget Cube can be found on their KickStarter page and Antsy Labs website.

From Lawyer to LEGO

Desk jobs are not for everyone, and that is certainly what right-brained Sean Kenney came to realize. After working in a law firm for 10 years, Sean had an epiphany that there was much more to life than his office cubicle. He decided to quit his job and to pick up his childhood dream of becoming a professional LEGO builder. After almost 18 years, Sean does not regret this decision.

Sean Kenney, in his LEGO

Sean Kenney, in his LEGO “studio,” surrounded by various models

You see, Sean’s LEGO building has made him a legendary celebrity in the world’s largest toy community. As one of the 13 LEGO Certified Professionals, Sean has the 3rd largest privately owned LEGO collection in the world at more than 5 million pieces. In addition, he has written several books, founded MOCpages (a networking website for enterprising LEGO builders), and built hundreds of models, statues, and pieces of art that are portrayed all over the globe.

When asked about why he chose to quit his job at the law firm, he replied that it did not satisfy an inner desire for creativity and abstract imagination that is in the fundamental core of who Sean is. His job was so focused on left-brain directed empirical and objective thinking that his right-brained creativity didn’t have any avenue of expression. After he quit his job, he slowly but surely became one of the best LEGO builders in the world because of his passion for what he does. Certified LEGO Professionals are private individuals with a particular skill-set for enterprise and construction who are recognized by the LEGO Company as independent businessmen and women. Sean is one of these creative entrepreneurs who truly thought outside the box (of his cubicle). In addition to his own creative though, he is very passionate about helping others realize their dreams of creative construction as demonstrated through the invention of his website MOCpages. As someone who has been a member of the LEGO community for many years, Sean’s story is an inspiring and remarkable example for me of a man using his God-given passions and abilities to help others and fulfill his own dreams.

 

A New Generation of Coders

Being able to code is becoming very important. There are a lot of job opportunities, and a lot of fun to be had with coding. Adam Lipecz takes this to another level.  Since a very young age, Adam was obsessed with innovation. He would create and design things that he showed around the world, but perhaps his best invention happened when he was teaching Mechatronics at a university.

Adam had come up with an idea for a toy for children that involved play, and coding. The idea was to take a robot toy and make it move by an app. In this app to make it move you are coding. This teaches children valuable problem solving skills and also coding lessons, all while having fun.

Since this has been created it will be surprising to see how Adam has impacted many of today’s children.

Technology and Toys

Evan, a nine year old entrepreneur, has it made. It’s estimated that he will make $1.3 million a year. Doing what? Reviewing toys. His channel, Evan Tube, has over 2.8 million subscribers and over a billion people have viewed his videos, and it’s easy to see why. After visiting his YouTube channel, it’s clear that Evan Tube is the ultimate kid fun zone. There’s videos of him at Universal, doing the “Chubby Bunny” challenge, reviewing the new whip cream in your face game, this kid does it all. Oh, and he’s been doing this since he was five.

This young man has created a brand for himself that has been so successful. Moms and kids know they can visit his channel to get reliable unbiased information from a fun kid perspective. It is the perfect package.

Who knew that technology and toys is all you need to create a successful business? I didn’t. I’m so astonished that a child can create this amazing story for himself all through using technology that was accessible to him and playing with toys that he was already using anyway. Evan, you are a true success!

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Palmer Luckey

If you’re familiar with the gaming world then you should know that most of the time you are using some type of controller and you are looking at some type of screen as you play. Well the 21-year-old video game fan, Palmer Luckey, plans on changing the way games are played in a new and interesting way. He is managing to do so with his invention called the Oculus rift.

Luckey is working on perfecting his invention with the company he founded called Oculus VR. Now as I have stated before the usual gaming equipment are controllers and televisions. With Luckeys Oculus Rift he plans to immerse players into a virtual reality. The Oculus Rift itself is a virtual reality headset that displays the game being played directly in front of your eyes. Now what else is cool about this headset is that with every movement you make with your head it affects the way you see the game. For example, say that you physically rotate your head as if you were looking to the right and then left; the headset will monitor these movements and translate them into the game.

Luckey has already received endorsements from big name gaming companies such as Valve and id Software and has raised over $91 million dollars in funding for the Oculus Rift. With all this attention and funding who knows what the future of gaming has in store for this innovative and cool product the Oculus Rift.

Codie: The First Coding Toy

Whether we like it or not, technology is becoming more and more a part of our everyday lives. It is shifting from an accessory to your day to day functions, to a necessity. It appears to be doing the same thing in the professional world as well. Websites, emails, apps, social media, etc. are all words that are becoming part of a business’s vocabulary.

Children are entering into this world needing to work with technology in order to survive. Adam Lipecz, a twenty-four year old entrepreneur, saw this need and created the most interesting toy on the market, Codie. This gadget is a small wooden robot that connects to a mobile device wirelessly to work with an app. The app allows the robot to move by teaching children how to code on an elementary level. From my understanding, there are “blocks” on the app the child would drag and place to get the robot to move a specific way. It seems to be a tangible way to show kids how to code on a very small level.

 

 

The Greatest Game To Play In The Summer

SPIKEBALL

According to iddictive.com, Spikeball is a volleyball-like game where two teams of two compete to keep the ball in the air before spiking it off a circular trampoline like net on the ground. Originally marketed as a beach game, it’s now taking off in backyards and parks across America.

In the 1990’s seven guys attempted to launch Spikeball to sell in stores like Toys R Us marketed towards kids. However, it didn’t go as planned and Spikeball was removed from shelves shortly after its launch.

Following this indecent, Chris Ruder, Co-Founder of Spikeball overheard feedback for nearly a decade of how people wished Spikeball would relaunch. Finally in 2009, Spikeball relaunched and Spikeball was a hit!

Today nearly 125,000 people play Spikeball and absolutely love the game!

I would definitely recommend Spikeball! It is a family fun game for all ages. The first time I played the game, I couldn’t stop because it was such blast. We played for 3 hours!

Chris Ruder took a big risk relaunching Spikeball after failing the first time around, but it goes to show sometimes when you take big risks, big rewards follow.

GoldieBlox: Construction Girls

Dana Sterling, age thirty one, is the founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company marketed towards girls.  GoldieBlox toys aren’t the everyday dress-up doll toys, though, they’re construction toys geared towards introducing young girls to the world of engineering.  Each toy comes with a picture book that tells a story about “Goldie,” and how she builds something, such as a carnival game or parade float, to solve a problem.  Dana’s goal is to show girls that they are capable of building and creating to help people and find solutions to problems.

Dana and her company are inspiring because even though she was told by other toy companies that her products wouldn’t sell and that girls don’t buy construction toys, she pressed on, eventually raising $285,000 on Kickstarter.  She saw that there was an absence of toys in the market that would teach young girls about engineering and problem-solving and filled that gap.  Dana’s company illustrates what it means to innovate, as she found a solution that was attractive to girls, the coloring and the story about Goldie, that also taught made them more aware of engineering at a younger age.

Dana is driven by her mission to inspire girls to become engineers, but that doesn’t hold her back from growing her business.  GoldieBlox received feedback that boys love the toys, too, so the company will be releasing three new products in the fall that will be in gender neutral colors and include male characters in the books.  She is not so focused on her mission that she is afraid to pivot her idea to incorporate a wider market of consumers.

Even before GoldieBlox came into existence, Dana used her entrepreneurial drive to raise $30,000 for economic and educational development in rural India, where she had gone on a mission trip.  Dana earned a degree in engineering at Stanford, but ended up as an entrepreneur in the realm of girls toys.

Miss O and Friends

A 10-year-old Juliette Brindak came up with an idea of ‘Miss O and Friends’ when she was just 10 years old. Unlike just about every person her age, she used her entrepreneurial instincts to actually create something out of her idea, which is how Miss O and Friends came into existence.

‘Miss O’ was one of the characters from a series of drawing-based characters called the ‘Cool Girls’ aimed to be positive role models for young girls and teens. Brindak created the characters herself, and spurred by their popularity, her family helped her with her venture – her mother, who was a graphic designer by profession, drew the characters, while her father, a business man, helped set up and look at the business side of things. Brindak launched Miss O and Friends in 2005 based on the popular characters. The website is a ‘for girls, by girls’ website where girls can seek advice from a supportive community, and play flash games.

Books based on the Miss O characters have sold over 100,000 copies. In 2008, Procter and Gamble invested in Miss O and Friends. The company was valued at $15 million! In 2011, the site was ranked the third largest girls-only website! Today, the website generates 10 million monthly visits – which is 20 times the traffic it generated when it was created.

A now-23 year old Brindak, who remains the CEO of the company, uses different methods to keep on top of what tweens are looking for today, and makes it possible for girls to see their favorite celebrities and musicians play live by offering all-expense paid trips for them!