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Toys Technology

Demo of Spatially Aware Blocks 109 109

Chris Anderson writes "This 5-min demo just posted from last week's TED — got a big crowd reaction. It's a new technology coming out of MIT, about to be commercialized. Siftables have been seen before, but not like this. They're toy blocks/tiles that are spatially aware and interact with each other in very cool ways. Initial use may be as toys, but there's big potential for new paradigm of spatially-aware physical mini computers."
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Demo of Spatially Aware Blocks

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  • by Facetious (710885) on Friday February 13, 2009 @02:02PM (#26846519) Journal
    I subscribe to the TED channel in Miro, and it so happens that I watched this last night with my 11-year old son. I was impressed, but for me a better indicator of a product's viability is how my son perceives the product. He thought they were awesome.
  • Re:Amazing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Friday February 13, 2009 @02:19PM (#26846755)

    The key difference is that I would trumpet the thinker and not the toymaker. It wasn't the guy who built the train that developed relativity.

  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday February 13, 2009 @02:19PM (#26846763) Journal
    They must cost way too much for the price to not be mentioned.
  • These are real (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday February 13, 2009 @02:24PM (#26846813)

    I mean seriously, doing something on a computer is neat but that doesn't mean doing the same thing in the real world is easy. In a computer, it is no problem to have all objects aware of the location of all other objects. Not only is communication between processes/functions/threads/whatever easy, the objects in a computer program probably aren't self controlling little scripts. They are probably just objects rendered by a larger program controlling them all.

    It is rather something different to have a bunch of physical, discrete blocks that are aware like this.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday February 13, 2009 @02:31PM (#26846901) Homepage Journal

    But it was the guy who invented the train that enabled the thinker to think.

    All the world is connected. Einstein came up with this Relativity while thinking about a train. So the inventor of the train, the guys who built the train that Einstein thought about, the train's engineer, and all the people on the train all contributed to Einstein's original thought. Einstein's parents were responsible for his upbringing. Einstein's teachers influenced his thinking.

    My point is that while the thinker came up with the thought, he did not do so alone. Isaac Newton noted about science that we stand on the shoulders of giants. That refers not just to previous thinkers, but to all of human experience.

    Don't be so quick to dismiss things out of hand. A spatially-aware cube is and important building block of other things and is certainly a technological marvel to behold in and of itself.

  • by Whorhay (1319089) on Friday February 13, 2009 @02:40PM (#26847003)

    I was thinking along the same lines.

    They'd probably be excellent for teaching children to read and write. Just combine it with software that reads or tries to read the words the child spells by combining the letters. The child could be given a specific set of letters and rewarded by how many words they can spell correctly using the set. Or you could have the program pronounce words and the child then reproduces the word with the blocks.

    Granted these are all things you could do with a computer now, but this obviously allows for easier manipulation by the child and is more intuitive than using a keyboard. Not to mention it might be indistinguishable from a game in the childs eyes. And getting kids to enjoy and actively seek out learning is probably the biggest hurdle in our educational system.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Friday February 13, 2009 @03:34PM (#26847855) Homepage

    Whether or not an 11 year old thinks they are awesome does indicate their marketability. Their viability as tool will be determined by where they are two weeks after he gets them - in use, or in the bottom of the closet.

  • power (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mestar (121800) on Friday February 13, 2009 @03:36PM (#26847891)

    and soon the batteries will last for more than 2 minutes.

VMS must die!

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