Awesome Stuff: Simple Geeky Toys

from the inexpensive awesome dept

With CES wrapping up today, the internet is awash in rundowns of the greatest new gadgets, and these days it’s barely newsworthy that this or that product was partially funded on Kickstarter or created by a team with a crowdfunding background. So instead of looking at the CES crop, most of which you’ve probably already seen, this week we’re rounding up three simple and inexpensive geeky playthings.

Luma Dice

Usually, when it comes to things like dice and playing cards, I’m an advocate of keeping it simple. The fetishization of “lucky” dice is just superstition and magical thinking. But maybe I should lighten up, because some of the specialty dice showing up on Kickstarter are admittedly pretty cool, with the most noteworthy being the Luma. It’s a solid aluminum die with powered LEDs embedded as pips, and contains an accelerometer to activate them automatically when it’s picked up or rolled. You’d think that with the accelerometer already present, they’d have a mode to light up only the up-facing side when a roll is complete — but sadly they don’t. Though, that may be part of why the price is surprisingly reasonable at only $21 (approximately, as the original prices are in Australian dollars) for a pair.

The Sound Reactive Mask

While we’re on the subject of lighting up things that don’t normally light up, this product might emerge from the Montreal electronic music scene but it’s tech-geeky through and through. Sound-reactive clothing and costuming is nothing new, but this might be the first time I’ve seen anyone with a good design sense use it in a way that’s actually fun to look at, unlike the terrible t-shirts marketed to “ravers”. The stylized jaguar design on the foam mask appears to respond quickly and accurately to music by deconstructing and reconstructing itself piece by piece, to pretty impressive and mesmerizing effect. And once again, the price is lower than you might expect for this kind of Kickstarter project: again about $21, thanks this time in part to the exchange rate with Canadian dollars.

The Key Armory

Several years ago, for reasons I still don’t fully understand, a friend bought me a gag birthday gift in the form of a giant sword — one of those ridiculous fantasy ones with all sorts of curlicues that I assume would render any real sword useless. It’s neat, but it’s weird, and I have no idea what to do with it — so it’s lived in its box under my bed ever since. Somehow I doubt I’m the only person with a display sword in that situation. Well, the Key Armory offers a slightly more workable alternative: lovingly crafted key blanks with handles hilts inspired by various famous fictional swords. They are available in two common key types, though if you don’t use one of those, you’re out of luck for now. And in keeping with this week’s low-price theme, they are only $10 a pop with discounts if you buy more than one.

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