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2012.10.21

Chemical Element Trump Cards

I can still remember the weight of the Lancia Stratos car that featured in the Top Trumps cards were playing as children in the 1970s: 870kg. It was the lightest of all the flashy cars in the set, and therefore a much sought-after card. Other card sets that kept us busy included airplanes, motorcycles, and tanks. Through them we learned tens of useless trivia, but also got a feeling of the compromises inherent in engineering. Wondering whether I could leverage such a game to make it even more educational, I created a set of trump cards containing properties of chemical elements.

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2012.09.18

Research Proposal Becomes Reality

Eight years ago I submitted a research proposal for developing a tablet-based game platform for toddlers. Although the proposal was not accepted for funding, it's nice to see the idea becoming a reality through the unveiling of the Toys 'R' Us $150 Tabeo tablet for kids.

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2009.04.26

Dual-Use Technology

Lego sells lovely toys with a great educational potential. No peace-loving father would have a problem giving them as a gift (especially, if he can also occasionally take part in the action). Unfortunately, children seem to have their own (genetically preprogrammed?) ideas of what is interesting to build. I still love Lego, but I'm a bit worried about human nature.

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2008.09.06

Daring Youth: Then and Now

My friend and colleague Stephanos Androutsellis-Theotokis pointed me to two amazing YouTube videos (here and here) of Parkour and Free running. He commented that it's crazy what these people can do, and with how much flow and speed.

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2008.08.05

A Child's Crontab

When the time to go to sleep is approaching, all children seem to be configured with the same crontab.

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2007.03.25

One Traffic Light Per Child

The XO machine of the One Laptop Per Child initiative has a display with two remarkable properties: in reflective mode it can be read under sunlight, and it can also work in both laptop and tablet mode. Add a dozen-line EToys program and you have a real traffic light.

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2006.12.25

The Capacitor Plague Hits a Baby Monitor

Good baby monitors are hard to come by. Many tend to be oversensitive, others switch from squelch mode to transmission with a loud hiss that is more irritating than a baby's cry. We were very satisfied with a Tomy Walkabout Digital 1998 baby monitor, until the day it started emitting a squeaking sound.

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2006.11.15

White Noise Calms Babies

A week ago I told my colleague Damianos Chatziantoniou that drying the body of a newborn baby with a hair drier keeps it consistently dry avoiding rashes, and also calms the baby down. Today he told me the advice worked wonders. Many parents have discovered that sources of white noise, like the sound of a vacuum cleaner or a hair drier, seem to calm down a baby's crying spell.

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2005.09.05

Preparing for the Exams

The (retake) exam period has started. At the metro the passenger sitting opposite me is obviously a student frantically sorting the cards containing a 6%-reduced photocopy of her forensic psychology textbook.

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2005.03.14

A Plea for Usability Design in Children's Electronic Toys

I am not particularly fond of children's electronic toys, but they constantly arrive at home as presents, and they also attract the children's attention. Unfortunately, the usability aspects of most electronic toys for toddlers and children appear to be ignoring important and well-established principles of user interface design.

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2004.10.16

A Toddler Discovers Globalization

A toddler decided to explore and uncover the production chain behind his touch-and-feel book.

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Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material on this page created by Diomidis Spinellis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Greece License.