CLOSE
Original image

26 Life-Size Versions of Popular Board Games

Original image

Everyone's favorite board games get a whole lot more fun when they're super-sized. (Also: the pieces are harder to lose.) We've gathered up a collection of jumbo variations on classic board games—if you think we've missed a good one, let us know in the comments!

Candy Land

I was surprised there weren't more life-size versions of the candy-themed game, but the quality of these two jumbo versions makes up for the lack of other variations.

Lombard Street

San Francisco's famously winding Lombard Street was turned into the biggest version of Candy Land ever to celebrate the children's game's 60th anniversary in 2009. Laughing Squid has more videos and photos.

Candy Land Garden

Craftster user KandeeCorner (and YouTube user eieioh1) created a garden based on the various iterations of the Candy Land game board. You can read about her project in the Craftster boards.

Operation

On G4's "Attack of the Show," Kevin Pereira, Candace Bailey, and Gillian Jacobs played a life-sized G4 version of the buzzing medical game. Check out the photos on Attack of the Blog.

Scrabble

America's favorite word game is also one of the most popular games to get the life-size treatment.

Mississippi Children's Museum


The Mississippi Children's Museum boasts a Hasbro-official giant Scrabble. In the photo above, some members of the Navy ham it up at the museum for Mississippi Navy Week. Photo from the Mississippi Children's Museum's Facebook album of Mississippi Navy Week.

Canstruction Vancouver 2011


Amazingly enough, the Scrabble above was created from canned goods for the 2011 Canstruction Vancouver, a canned food sculpture competition that raises money for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society. Photo by Flickr user Karen Neoh (karen_neoh).

Valley Fiesta 2010


The "Giant Games in the Valley" portion of the 2010 Valley Fiesta in Brisbane, Australia, boasted this colorful version of the word game. Photo by Flickr user Michael Zimmer (zayzayem).

Kensington Market


Toronto's Kensington Market has "Pedestrian Sundays," during which this giant homemade version of Scrabble was available to play. Photo by Ish & Jen of SunshineInToronto.com.

World Literacy Day 2010


Literacy Aotearoa Wellington (LAW), a not-for-profit organization that provides free numeracy and literacy support to residents of Wellington (New Zealand), hosted a giant street game of Scrabble on World Literacy Day 2010.

Toy Story Mania!


While this version isn't playable, its size earns it a place on this list. Gracing a building at Toy Story Mania! in Pixar Place at Disney's Hollywood Studios is a folded Scrabble board being hoisted by Army men. Photo by Flickr user Beau B.

Monopoly

These "life-sized" versions of Monopoly aren't quite the size of the real locations named on the popular game's board, but they're still a lot bigger than the table-top version!

Guadalupe River Park


This permanent installation in Guadalupe River Park, near the Children's Discovery Museum in San Jose, CA, is the largest Monopoly game board in the world. Photo by Flickr user HarshLight.

Bally's: Atlantic City


To attract attention for their "Pass GO! Collect $200" promotion, Bally's and Hasbro created a jumbo Monopoly game on the boardwalk outside the Atlantic City casino. More information about the game and promotion at Press of Atlantic City. Photo from ACWeekly.com's Atlantic City Central blog.

Minnesota State Fair 2002


The 2002 Minnesota State Fair included a tented walk-able version of Monopoly. Photo by Stephen A. Edwards from his Crazy Minnesota album.

Mousetrap

This amazing life-size game of Mousetrap was created by Mark Perez and company for Maker Faire 2007. To see more of the game, check out Nathan Bennett's (mostly) night-time photos.

Word on the Street

Origins Game Fair 2010 hosted the first life-size rendition of Out of the Box Games' Word on the Street.

The Royal Game of Ur


Odessa Design created a giant (yet portable) version of the Royal Game of Ur for the British Museum to celebrate the press launch of www.mesopotamia.co.uk/. Photo from Odessa Design.

Chess

Giant chess games can be divided into two categories: human chess, in which people are the pieces, and super-sized chess, in which jumbo versions of the traditional pieces are used.

Jeu d'Echecs Indien


Henri-Pierre Picou's 1876 painting, Jeu d'Echecs Indien, depicts a human chess game in India. Unfortunately, we can't find much more information about it, although there are an awful lot of sites offering reproductions. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Monselice, Italy


This human-chess game took place in Monselice, Italy, and was photographed by Wikimedia Commons user Zyance.

Jai Mahal Palace Hotel


The grounds of this luxury hotel in Jaipur, India, include an amazing carved life-size chess set. Photo by Flickr user squinting.

Taj Exotica


Taj Exotica, another luxury hotel owned by the same company as the Jai Mahal Palace Hotel, is also home to a cool jumbo chess set. Photo by Flickr user Sean Ellis (s_w_ellis).

Brindavan Gardens


They must really love chess in India, because a third life-size chess set resides at the Brindavan Gardens in Krishna Raja Sagara, India. Photo by Flickr user lucy like whoa.

Yahoo! Burbank


Yahoo!'s Burbank, CA, campus includes this giant courtyard chess set surrounded by flowers. Photo by Flickr user Konrad Summers (tkksummers).

Best Western Resort Country Club


The fourth (or fifth, if you count the Henri-Pierre Picou painting) Indian life-size chess board on our list is an amenity included with club membership at Best Western Resort Country Club, Gurgaon in New Delhi, India. Photo via the Best Western Resort Country Club web site.

The Embarcadero


Pieces for the giant chess board at the Embarcadero in Morro Bay, CA, can be rented from the city's Recreation Department. Photo via TripAdvisor.com.

Checkers (and Chess)


Bastions Park in Geneva, Switzerland, has at least four grids painted onto the pavement, with corresponding sets of playing pieces for checkers or chess, whichever strikes the players' fancy. Photo by Flickr user gringaespanola.

Chinese Checkers


The “Giant Games in the Valley” portion of the 2010 Valley Fiesta in Brisbane, Australia, also included this large version of Chinese checkers as well as the previously mentioned large Scrabble. Photo by Flickr user Michael Zimmer (zayzayem).

Battleship


Julie, who writes the blog Jules Journal, and her family created this jumbo version of Battleship for an event at their church. Photo via Jules Journal.
***
26 jumbo versions of our favorite board games not enough for you? Don’t worry, we’re not stopping the fun. Head over to our “Popular Games, Super-Sized” board on Pinterest for more giant games around the world. And if you’ve seen a good one, let us know in the comments and we’ll add it to the board.

Original image
iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
technology
arrow
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
Original image
iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

Original image
Opening Ceremony
fun
arrow
These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
Original image
Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:

501069-OpeningCeremony2.jpg

Opening Ceremony

To this:

501069-OpeningCeremony3.jpg

Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]

SECTIONS
BIG QUESTIONS
BIG QUESTIONS
JOB SECRETS
QUIZZES
WORLD WAR 1
SMART SHOPPING
STONES, BONES, & WRECKS
#TBT
THE PRESIDENTS
WORDS
RETROBITUARIES