Hobbies & Toys News

News: How to Make Tinfoil Cars

In this video, I show you how to build tinfoil cars for crushing with toy Monster Trucks. My son Eston and I love monster trucks. One of the most exciting things when you go to see monster trucks live, is when they crush cars. Problem is, when you use your hot wheels or matchbox cars with your monster trucks, they don’t get smashed. So the realism isn’t there.

News: This Jet-Powered, RC Dragon Can Fly Over 100mph—And It Actually Breathes Fire!

WonderHowTo has seen its fair share of dragon-related projects, from dragon wings, to dragon kites, to less-complicated origami dragons, but we've yet to see anything quite like this. Radio-control plane builder Richard Hamel built this incredible seven-foot-long, fire-breathing dragon using a JetCat P80 turbine and a 50,000 volt stun gun, with a 2.4-gigahertz touchscreen radio controller to fly it.

News: Autonomous, Solar-Powered Fijibot Only Lives to Survive Another Day

Aside from being completely adorable, Fijibot is a completely autonomous robot that automatically seeks out light sources to charge his solar-powered battery. He's built from a 1.5 liter Fiji water bottle, packed with an Arduino Uno, 6 volt solar panel, and an Arduino Proto Shield. His other parts are all off-the-shelf gear you could grab at RadioShack, while the wheels are from a discarded RC car. Fijibot isn't a particularly useful robot, but it's still fun to watch him navigate from light ...

News: This LEGO Mindstorms Submersible Can Be Piloted by Your Xbox Controller

Making little robots with a LEGO Mindstorms NXT set is already cool, but putting one underwater? Now that's just crazy. That didn't stop this engineer, who built a LEGO submarine that can not only maneuver around his fish tank, but can also be remotely controlled with his Xbox controller. The craft has a sealed battery compartment, exposed Power Functions motors, and features real-time communication between it and a laptop using a NXTbee wireless module.

News: NASA's Curiosity Just Got Bricked! Working LEGO Mars Rover Ready for Exploration

Using a LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit, a pair of awesome engineers put together this fully functional replica of the Curiosity Mars rover. Not only is it built completely out of LEGOs, it's motorized, programmable, and ready to explore the far reaches of your living room. The rover was built for the Build the Future in Space event at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Four of the six wheels are powered, allowing it to make 360 degree turns, and the arm and mast are both fully controllable. The entire con...

News: Full-Sized Mechanical Skeeball Machine Built Entirely Out of K'Nex—And It Works!

If you played with K'Nex as a kid (or still do), you know that it can take a lot of those tiny little pieces to build something. Just imagine how many it must have taken to make this full-sized, fully functional, coin-operated skeeball machine with a mechanical score counter. Instructables user Shadowman39 (aka Kyle) spent an entire year building this masterpiece. It's the same size as the ones you see in arcades, and it's coin operated, too. But don't try to feed it your pennies, it knows th...

News: World's First 3D Printed UAV Takes to the Skies

The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has been widely used by the military for surveillance and reconnaissance missions—even armed combat. But there are other beneficial applications of an unmanned aircraft, such as search and rescue operations, scientific exploration, locating mineral deposits, transporting goods and even filming bikini models. But drone development can be pretty pricey, unless you just happen to have a 3D printer...

News: Build Your Own LEGO Skull from Noah Scalin's Skull-A-Day Project

Noah Scalin—proprietor of the web famous Skull-A-Day project—has teamed up with LEGO engineer/artist Clay Morrow to provide instructions for Scalin's LEGO skull first posted back in '08. Rendered with LDView, Morrow dissected the original piece and put together full instructions (including a parts list) now available as a free downloadable PDF.

News: Flying Pegasus Operated with LEGO Gears & Cranks

Korean MOC Pages user Kyoung-bae Na, aka edulyoung, constructed this beautiful LEGO automaton of a winged Pegasus. Maneuvered with a series of mechanical LEGO gears and cranks, watch below as Pegasus "hovers", flapping her wings. Kyoung-bae Na sells his creations out of his e-shop, Studio Amida. The Pegasus automaton was previously going for $140, but is no longer listed; however, there is a clownfish currently available for the lower price of $33.50. The models are so fantastic—it makes one ...

News: 4 Years of Spectacularly Pointless Marble Machines

So very pointless, yet unquestionably spectacular. The best kind of "art" performs no other function than to delight the viewer, and Japanese YouTube user Denha's complex marble machines do just that. But are marble machines art? You can call them that—or toys, scientific contraptions, engineering feats—but however you choose to label them, the best marble machines are complicated, skillfully crafted, and driven by the principles of potential energy, kinetic energy and gravity.

News: DIY Video Chat Robot Lets You Be Two Places at Once

Want to keep an eye on your home while on vacation? Terrorize your family pet while at work? A homespun telepresence robot might be just the ticket! Luckily, thanks to shrinking hardware costs and the efforts of renowned hardware hacker Johnny Chung Lee, building a physical avatar has never been easier! Lee's robot has two important parts: an iRobot Create and a lightweight netbook running Skype. Notable extras include a wide-angle lens and a plastic stand to raise the computer to tabletop he...

Bubblebot: Build Your Own Gigantic Bubble Generator

Love bubbles but hate the toil and trouble of using your own lungs to blow them? Allow us to introduce Bubblebot, the latest Arduino-powered toy to attain celebrity status on Instructables. It's not an easy project by any means—even the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur has fewer steps. But come on, it's an automated giant bubble robot! It's worth it!

News: Carnivorous Furniture Eats Flies and Mice for Energy

PETA wouldn't consider James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau's ingenious flypaper clock very eco-friendly, but I might beg to differ. The clock doesn't require any electricity or batteries. Instead it captures flies and converts the bodies of the dead insects into energy. Eight dead flies makes for roughly twelve days of power. Not bad.

News: Hunting Hydrogen Balloons with Fireworks

A group of R/C helicopter enthusiasts (of the superbly named entertainment production company Dude Licking a Pole Production) outfit a mini 'copter with little missiles, and send it out to hunt balloons in the cold Swedish wild. Motivation: mystifying. Outcome: wonderful. It's like James Bond meets an arcade game. And it's got everything we love: R/C , fireworks, and great video game style motion graphics.

News: Riot in a Jar

Pie in a jar. Tree in a jar. Garden in a jar. Why not violence in a jar? Akin to the classic ship-in-a-bottle, miniature riots bottled up in jam jars entitled “Small World Re-enactments” by British artist James Cauty:

News: Haunted House in Rotting LEGO

Mike Doyle's latest LEGO house (perhaps even more hauntingly beautiful than the last) is a Victorian mansion that transcends the material so effectively, the plastic reads like real rotting bricks and mortar. Beautiful house-devouring trees, created with LEGO hinge cylinders to mimic the texture of tree bark, and ridged 3 mm hose, droid arms and other technic connectors for the creepy, spindly branches.

News: Arabian Camels Tortured By Remote Control Robot Jockeys

In the wealthy oil man's world of Arabian camel racing, the tradition of using child jockeys has been replaced with the use of small robo-jockeys in recent years. But after finally ridding the game of the mistreatment of children, the sport is now under scrutiny again. The Dubai police have discovered a new feature illegally added to the torturous, whip-endowed robots: hidden stun guns.

News: IBM's “Watson” Supercomputer Demolishes World's Top Jeopardy Players

A testament of man vs. machine will air on February 14th, 15th, and 16th when IBM's supercomputer "Watson" is pitted against the world's fiercest Jeopardy players, Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, for a chance to win a cool $1 million. It took researchers four years to build Watson, a machine mastermind the size of ten refrigerators and equipped with complex algorithms capable of decoding the complexities of the human language (no small feat). Watch below as Watson kicks ass in a practice round ...

News: Functional LEGO Snow-Eating Beast

The Stilzkin Indrik is a mighty, mini LEGO Russian crawler, capable of lugging heavy loads over snowy terrain: "It has a large contact surface, which prevents it from sinking into the snow. It offers great traction on almost any surface, and loads of torque to get out of tight spots."

News: Polar Bears Play Bloody Game of Soccer With Snowball Spycam

Blizzard Cam, a 40 mph mobile spycam on skis, spies on a group of adorable polar bears (um, minus the blood stained faces) as they devour a pile of remains. Operated remotely, Snowball Cam is released from the Blizzard if scientists detect the bears may attack the device. The decoy can roll across most terrains (even up hill), and easily distracts the bears into a game of soccer. From a BBC TV program on polar bears.

News: Apple Engineer Builds Fully-Functional Ancient Computer With LEGOs

Apple software engineer Andrew Carol built a fully-functional replica of the Antikythera Mechanism, the world's oldest known scientific computer. The 2000-year-old analog device was used by the ancient Greeks to predict the year, date, and time of future solar and lunar eclipses accurately to within two hours. Carol put together the 110 gears (made with 1,500 LEGO Technic parts) in just 30 days. See how it works below. For more information, check out Fast Company's interview with Carol.

Bacarobo 2010: Video Highlights from This Year's "Stupid Robot Cup"

Can a robot be dumber than a toaster? For the answer, look no further than Bacarobo—a yearly contest that showcases and celebrates and the world's dumbest, most adorable robots. Each year, ten robots vie for first prize. Each year, only one bot wins. Who took the title of Top Blockhead in this year's competition? That's something you'll want to see for yourself:

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