ThingMaker Re-Thunk

Back in the 60s, Mattel had a toy called the Thing-Maker. You poured the Plastigoop into molds, put the molds in a special oven and out popped your own wiggly creepy crawlers, mini-dragons, toy soldiers, or for the girls: flowers.

Original Thing-Maker:

Mattel has recently resurrected ThingMaker but as a 3-D printer. With their new version, there are a lot more colors and they have sought to make 3-D printing easier to do. There is an app already available so you can see the items that are ready to be made. You can change out the parts you can choose from to customize your item. You can choose colors, textures, backgrounds, and take a photo to keep. From the app, you can send the items to the printer. It will tell you how long it will take to print and how much the item will weigh when done.

Smart Toys

Jody Victor‘s crew wants to warn everyone that you need to be careful if you are considering buying
smart toys for children. Our warning is 2-pronged.

First is that any toy that can go online via WiFi has the potential to be hacked. There are already some instances of this.

The Hello Barbie doll was found to be able to be a surveillance device.

VTech, based in Hong Kong, had a vulnerability that allowed private information including names, addresses, email addresses, download history, secret questions to be compromised.

HereO watch, a GPS-enabled watch, had a vulnerability that allowed stalkers a way to track and send messages posing as their parents.

Fisher Price’s Smart Toy Monkey had a vulnerability that could leak owner information.

These are just a few toys we know of so far.

The second prong to this problem is this: Will these be new avenues for our (or any) government to track us? Will any toy or device equipped with a camera and/or microphone allow government agencies to spy on us or for them to confiscate them for investigation?

We might need to think twice before purchasing these items.

Remember View-Master®?

Many kids had a View-Master by Mattel. Remember those goggley things you would hold up to your eyes with a cardboard disc with little pictures in it? They were 3D.

Now there’s a new View-Master. Mattel has teamed up with Google to make View-Master a 360-degree experience. Combined with the app on a compatible Android smartphone, you can begin your adventure. You can zoom in on different items to get a closer look and find more information along the way.

It presents a sort of virtual reality. You move your head, look around, and view the visuals set before you. It also works with Google Cardboard.

Jody Victor