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Solar Robot Kit

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Several years ago I switched over to rechargeable batteries because kids are battery gluttons. They still manage to run through them like water, and occasionally lose them. But that's only one reason I like this 6 in 1 Solar Robot Kit from Robotikits. The biggest reason is that I want to play with it myself.

This is advertised as "educational" because of the solar power, which I suppose is a good thing. Kids know about solar power, but outside of their pocket calculators they don't get to play with solar power much. This little pocket-sized generator runs the kinetics of the robot outside on sunny days, or inside under a 50-watt halogen lamp. The parts go together to form six different solarcovershapes of robot: a car, a puppy, an airboat, a plane, a windmill, and another plane that flies around a pole. No screws are involved in the assembly, so it should go pretty fast. And when you get tired of one configuration, just reassemble it into another shape! I'd like to see the puppy walk most of all. I think the cats would really enjoy that.
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The 6 in 1 Solar Robot Kit is £12.99 in the UK and $19.99 in the US.

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Mike Mozart, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
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Knock-Off Versions of Nerf Ammo Can Cause Serious Eye Injuries
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Mike Mozart, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Nerf toy guns and their foam projectiles, as marketed and manufactured by Hasbro, are virtually harmless when used as instructed. But, as reported by CNN, a recent paper in the UK medical journal BMJ Case Reports is providing a reality check when it comes to using the mock weapons and off-brand ammo improperly.

Three unrelated patients were treated at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London with ocular injuries that were sustained as a result of being "shot" with Nerf guns. Two adults had bleeding and inflammation in the eye; one 11-year-old had bleeding, inflammation, and damage to the outer retinal layer. All three suffered what the paper described as "significant ocular trauma." Attending doctors treated their swelling, and all symptoms resolved within a few weeks.

So what happened? In the case of one patient, a Nerf play session went awry as a result of using non-licensed ammo that isn't subject to Hasbro's quality control measures and may be made of harder materials as a result. On their Nerf landing page, Hasbro cautions users to "never modify any Nerf blasters or other Nerf products. Use only the darts, water, rounds, and discs designed for specific Nerf blasters."

Pediatric ophthalmologists interviewed by CNN recommend that protective eyewear be used whenever anyone is playing with Nerf weapons. It's also advisable never to aim for the face when shooting and to avoid attempting to modify the weapons to shoot faster or farther.

[h/t CNN]

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iStock
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fun
Watch Craftsmen Shape Gobs of Molten Glass into Colorful Marbles
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iStock

Marbles aren't just for schoolchildren. Humans have likely been playing with the tiny toys for thousands of years, as indicated by ancient Egyptian artifacts and other objects studied by archaeologists. These trinkets have been crafted from materials including clay, stone, wood, glass, and metal. But in the early 1900s, Akron, Ohio–based Martin F. Christensen changed the way the playthings are made when he invented an automated machine that produced glass marbles.

Christensen's machine ultimately paved the way for the mass production of marbles. But in the video below, you can see how they're made the old-fashioned way. Produced by The Magic of Making—a series of short educational films created along with BBC—and spotted by The Kid Should See This, the clip shows glass makers in action as they use large ovens to melt granules of sand into liquid, and as they stretch, twist, and shape the molten goo into fragile (yet still playable) creations.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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