Blocks Go High-Tech: Trendy e-Toys For Geeky Kids + Adults

In previous generations, playing with blocks meant building towers and then knocking them down (or, more accurately, watching your little brother knock them down before you had the chance). But a new generation of blocks is getting our immature minds all a-flutter with the possibilities of some super-awesome games. Sifteo blocks are little electronic devices that sense one another and connect wirelessly to your computer. You play games with them by selecting a game from the computer interface and manipulating the blocks in a variety of ways.

Some of the games demonstrated in the above video have the user shifting the blocks around to match up colors, building various shapes, sorting words and numbers (which are obviously kids’ games) and making a path for a digital creature to follow. The cynical person would say that the blocks don’t do anything our computers can’t already do and that the price ($150 for a starter pack of three blocks) is way too high.

But the tactile satisfaction of actually manipulating the blocks by hand is incomparable. It’s actually far more satisfying than simply clicking on objects you see on a screen. Each cube can sense its position and orientation, and in certain modes can interact with the cubes around it.  We love the idea of “smart” building blocks that can be used for so many activities and will appeal to so many age groups.

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See more in Various Gizmos or under Gadgets. August, 2011.