Anyone from Hallmark that might be reading this, raise your hand if you remember “T-Ink” from 2004 and the products Hallmark produced for less than a year with the technology? T-Ink had so much potential and it simply withered and died on the vine. The T-Ink project was one of the first things I worked on when I returned to Hallmark. It was such a cool product, and could have been huge if they could have figured out how to market it better. Fast forward to 2017 and check out Papier Machine from French Designers Marion Pinaffo and Raphaël Pluvinage.
Papier Machine is a set of 13 paper-made electronic toys. Each piece of paper can be cut and folded and assembled into the final toy. Another intriguing component of Papier Machine is that while there are instructions that come with the kit, the steps are not clear cut. According to Pinaffo and Pluvinage they still want users to interpret the instructions themselves, opening up the pathway to more possibilities, especially for kids.
Like T-Ink, the printed paper is equipped with reactive, conductive, and thermosensitive inks, which actually complete the electronic circuits and allow the toys to function. The toys are designed for kids of all ages and don’t require any special tools, skills or training. The designers want Papier MAchine to be all about fun, and exploration. The 13 toys can create multiple projects that include Switches, a Gyroscope, Playing Track, Writing Track, Tilt Switch, Humidity Sensor, Wind Sensor, Mass Sensor, Power Reverser, Photoresistor, and Color Sensor. Pretty cool if you ask me.
Remember the building blocks you played with as a kid? Simple squares, usually with the alphabet painted on them. Well these are not your average building blocks.
Archiblocks were designed by Laurence Calafat for Cinqpoints. Cinqpoints is a French maker of architectural stationery and toys, and Archiblocks is a beautiful, minimalist set of building blocks designed to encourage kids to create. Cinqpoints mission is to spread the ideals of contemporary architecture. Archiblocks are designed to reflect balance, composition, and modular design. The set contains 16 pieces, all machined from untreated lime-wood. the blocks are smooth to the touch, with each block hand sanded before being sealed and painted. If I had kids, I’d get them a set of these. Actually, I might have to get a set for myself, because they are pretty damn cool.
Just in case you missed it live on TV, here is the Hot Wheels world record double loop drive through. That’s right drivers Tanner Foust and Greg Tracy set a Guinness World Record racing by driving two cars through a six-story double vertical loop at the X Games in Los Angeles last weekend. This is all part of a year long campaign that Mattel is running for the Hot Wheels brand that will involve a series of story driven stunts that are played out on live TV, as well as through social media and other digital outlets like mobile.
I think this is a great testament to the power of the Hot Wheels brand extending it beyond it’s core target audience of young boys. With over 115 thousand YouTube view since yesterday, this video is well on it’s way to going viral. With all of the other media and buzz that is building around each of the planned stunts over the rest of the year, you can bet Mattel is putting a lot of money behind these real life racing stunts. And it looks like they are paying off.