LEGO Spending Millions to Make its Bricks Environmentally Friendly

Since its emergence as building toy powerhouse in the 1970s, LEGO has been producing its famous bricks from petroleum-based plastics. Now, the Danish company is investing millions of dollars to research and develop new, environmentally friendly and sustainable methods of producing LEGO elements and packing materials. LEGO aims to ditch oil-based plastics entirely by the year 2030.

“You could say that it’s a logical place for us to find a way of reducing our environmental footprint. If you look at our CO2 footprint as a company, the majority of our impact comes from offscreen activities—basically what happens before we receive any raw materials in our factory,” said Roar Trangbaek, press officer for the LEGO Group.

LEGO has seen a sharp rise in sales over the last twenty years, piqued by its deal with Lucasfilm to produce LEGO Star Wars tie-in sets, the first of many lucrative film deals that includes Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Batman. As such, the company’s carbon footprint has risen sharply, three-quarters of which comes from the extraction and refinement of plastics from oil. Though LEGO has been keen to offset its footprint with other environmental projects, it has decided that its efforts were not making the desired impact.

$150 million is being spent on the new LEGO Sustainable Materials Center, which is due to be completed by 2016. It will employ around 100 materials specialists tasked with developing a new, green method of producing LEGO bricks without compromising the integrity or quality of its products.

LEGO says of the new Sustainability Center in the accompanying press release:

  • The LEGO Group dedicates 1 billion DKK and sets up LEGO Sustainable Materials Centre to find and implement new sustainable alternatives to current raw materials.
  • More than 100 employees are expected to be recruited predominantly in the LEGO Group headquarters in Billund Denmark, to work on the task in the coming years.
  • The structure and organisation of the LEGO Sustainable Materials Centre will be developed during 2015 and 2016.
  • The LEGO Group will continuously report on the progress and learnings gained towards the 2030 ambition.

“What we announce today is a long-term investment and a dedication to ensuring the continued research and development of new materials that will enable us to continue to deliver great, high quality creative play experiences in the future, while caring for the environment and future generations. It is a daunting and exciting challenge,” Jørgen Vig Knudstorp of the LEGO Group added.

Thank you InfoBlizzard for providing us with this information.

Get Your Geek on with These Star Wars Goodies

With the latest Star Wars movie coming later this year, a lot of retailers are getting ready for people who are looking for some Star Wars goodies. Surprisingly, there are a lot of cool things already on the market.

We can’t dig into every crazy gadget or contraption out there, but we can show you some of the best Star Wars goodies out there. Take this R2-D2 USB car charger for example. Is your phone running out of juice? Why not have R2-D2 ready to help you out!

Still not impressed? Well, since it’s summer, we all want to head over to the beach. So why not head over there with your own shiny new Death Star ball? I know I want to! How about you?

Too old for going to the beach? Ok then, maybe you have your family and want to go out on a trip with them. So why not show how strong the force is in your family on the rear windshield of your car? I bet your neighbours will be so jealous!

There are even toys for your young ones or collectible items for you to show off on your desk at home or at work, such as the ones you see below.

One of the best things I’ve found so far is something that you can share with your loved one. Want to propose in the future? Is your anniversary coming up? No matter the excuse is, these fine ‘I love You / I Know’ rings will make your day something to remember for the rest of your geeky life.

There are so many crazy cool goodies that we don’t even know where to go from here. Spanning from clothing, key chains, earrings, cups and other crazier accessories, you really have a wide variety to choose from. One of the places you can find the above is ThinkGeek, but other retailers are bound to have something similar sooner or later. Enjoy!

Images and video courtesy of ThinkGeek

New Barbie Doll to be Internet Connected for Interactive Chat

A new internet connected Barbie doll will have the ability to talk with kids. Hello Barbie uses speech recognition and a WiFi connection to have two-way conversations with children. The prototype was revealed at the New York Toy Fair on 14th February.

The Barbie can play interactive games, tell stories and jokes, and adapt to conversations over time. If a child tells Hello Barbie that they like to dance, the doll will remember and could refer to it in future chats. It has a microphone, speaker, and two multicoloured LEDs integrated into its body, with rechargeable batteries housed in its legs.

A spokesperson for Mattel, the doll’s creator, said, “The number one request we hear from girls around the world is that they want to have a conversation with Barbie. Now, for the first time ever, Barbie can have a two-way conversation.”

Though no release date has been confirmed, Hello Barbie will cost $74.99 (£49).

Source: BBC

BS Toy: the Kid-Friendly 3D Printer

Most 3D printers rely on superheating filaments to over 200oC to print objects, making them unsafe for use by children, but Bonsai Labs of Japan has developed a 3D printer, made with kids in mind, that only heats to 80oC.

The printer, called BS Toy, was revealed at the recent Nuremberg Toy Fair, and employs LT80 (Low Temperature), flexible filament developed by Polymakr LLC, to produce items. The diminutive printer measures 200 (W) x 200 (D) x 200mm (H), weighing 2kg, and can print objects of up to 130 (W) x 125 (D) x 100mm (H).

Bonsai Labs hope to release the BS Toy later this year.

Source: Nikkei Technology

Internet Outrage at Barbie ‘Computer Engineer’ Book

A children’s book centred around Barbie becoming a ‘computer engineer’ has faced allegations of sexism from hordes of internet users.

“I Can Be a Computer Engineer” has since been pulled from sale on Amazon after it contents went viral on the web.

The book features Barbie in the process of building a computer game, however it appears that she constantly makes mistakes and is unable to do anything productive without the help of her two male friends, Steven and Brian.

“I’m only creating the design ideas,” Barbie says, laughing. “I’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!”

At one point, the supposedly computer literate Barbie, inserts a virus infested USB drive into her friend’s laptop, wiping its hard drive and deleting her homework in the process.

When Barbie puts her flash drive into Skipper’s laptop, the screen starts blinking. “Oh, no!” says Barbie. “The virus must be on the flash drive!”

“I forgot to back up my homework assignment!” cries Skipper. “And all my music files are lost, too!”

Mattel, the owner of the Barbie brand, has since responded with this statement:

“We believe girls should be empowered to understand that anything is possible and believe they live in a world without limits. We apologise that this book didn’t reflect that belief. All Barbie titles moving forward will be written to inspire girls imaginations and portray an empowered Barbie character.”

As with anything like this on the web, people have reacted rather creatively, rewriting the book with terms such as “live cd”, “Debian” and  “VPN router”.

Source: The Verge

Amazon.com Now Selling Customisable 3D Printed Items

3D printing continues to shake up the world of manufacturing and has begun offering innovative and creative solutions for consumers. The latest to jump on the 3D printing trend is Amazon.com as they begin to offer customisable and pre-designed products that are 3D printed for you after you order them.

Amazon have set up a dedicated store front on their US site, which will allow you to browse over 200 products such as jewellery, homeware, toys and more. With the ability to customise the items so easily thanks to a simple user interface, it means you can create one of a kind items that would make great little gifts, or even just something for fun.

The site comes with a 3D mockup of what you’re creating too, so you can check every detail of what you are about to order before it is sent off to the printers and with a company as big as Amazon behind it, it’s got a great chance of being a big success.

Check out the official store front here and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

3D Printed Toys Made Their Way To 4,000 Disadvantaged Children This Christmas

3D printing has been one of the biggest trends of last year. Just about anything could be printed out, from guns to smartphone motherboards. It has been one of the most favourable tech discoveries form all times, and very useful indeed. Although the full extent of its usefulness cannot be measured at the moment, it did however made a big difference for 2013’s Christmas.

According to a BBC News article, the charity Kids Company made use of the 3D printing technology to print out toys for disadvantaged children. They had their doors opened for everyone to come and see how toys are made live, and maybe donate if they were generous enough, in Soho, London. The duration of the fund raising event spanned from December 13th up until December 18th, where people visiting the event could donate via text message and even choose the next toy design afterwards from six toy design templates.

World-famous animators Aardman, the people behind the nation’s much-loved Wallace and Gromit characters, have lent their support to the cause and have created two exclusive and limited edition toy designs for the event. The other toy designs have been made by companies Tado, Triclops, and Ultimaker.

After the fund-raising event, all toys were taken to the Kids Company Christmas party event by Santa, where 4,000 children enjoyed Christmas and opened up presents.

Thank you BBC UK and 3D Printing Insider for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of BBC UK

McDonalds Considers Deploying In-Store 3D Printing For Happy Meal Toys

3D printing has yet to find its groove, it may be popular, but the technology is still a little less refined that you would be led to believe. There is still a lot of work to be done re-tooling your models and certainly a bit of trial and error for some things too.

What the technology needs is a huge player in the industry, someone with near unlimited funds to find a way of making it capable of mass production and making it fast. Who better for such as task than fast food restaurant McDonalds.

Mark Fabes, the UK IT Director for the chain said that he has thought about the idea of having 3D printers in store that could print the happy meal toys on site. This would save a lot of money with transporting the goods and of course paying an external manufacture, it could even cut down on waste.

Of course the technology is quite up to that pace just yet, but Fabes may be onto something here and who knows what changes will happen with 3D printing technology in the next few years.

Thank you The Register for providing us with this information.