Sparkle Labs’ inspire and create gift list 2012

This year we thought we would highlight some of the great and smart gifts out there from
many of our retailers and friends! We tried to focus on gifts that inspire people to create and learn but mostly it is a list of stuff that we would want!

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Oh the Places You Will Go
Still a family-owned business, Moore Push-Pins was established in 1900 by Edwin Moore with $112.60. Like many inventors and entrepreneurs he worked day and night building his business based on pins. Why pins? I do not know, but Mr. Moore is credited with inventing push-pins as well as map tacks.

We love Kiosk here in NY for gifting. These map tacks are great for planning or remembering.


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New Release : Discover Arduino Bundle


Electronics and Intro to Programming in one box! Our Discover Electronics provides a foundation in prototyping electronics and gives you the basics you need to create circuits for your Arduino Microcontroller. Online lessons move you easily from learning electronics to basic programming. The kit already comes with everything you need to learn electronics and now you can take it to the next level and use your computer to program your circuits. This is the next step in building your own gadgets, robots, drones, and toys.

Step-by-step instructions help you set up your Arduino and walk you through the basics of computer programming. Your Discover Electronics Kit already comes with the parts you need to make many of the projects you find online.

It is a great Arduino starter kit and perfect for the beginner in electronics and Arduino, and has all of the parts needed even for advanced users.

It includes Discover Electronics V2, USB cable, an Arduino Rev 3 and Arduino cheat sheet. We also posted several Arduino projects on our learn website to get you up and running. The bundle comes with manual unlike other Arduino starter packs.

This is only available for a limited time so get yours soon here.


SuperDeux Papertronic

We close out the week with a Papertronic done by Sebastien Roux aka SuperDeux, a multi-media French artist. SuperDeux reminds me of the work of Sparkle Labs. Roux comes to SuperDeux from a Graffiti background. Roux was picked up by Pictoplasma and says,

Superdeux is a mix between something artistic and a marketing thing. It’s a creative solution to communication.

Superdeux creates and communicates with their products, characters and cool animations. Check some of their work out below. More Papertronics by other artists to come.

Superdeux Papertronic

Superdeux Ice Cream Cone


Superdeux Poster for KidRobot

Superdeux Poster for KidRobot

MOUSE and Discover Electronics with an LES high school

I attended the MOUSE Garage Robotics workshop the other day. High school students from all over the city of New York are using our SunMod, Papertronics and the Discover Electronics kits to learn prototyping and electronics. It was not only really fun to be at the workshop, but  it was great to observe the class and how the students react to it. I think MOUSE’s philosophy is very well aligned with Sparkle Labs’. Meredith Summs of MOUSE closed with telling the kids they can take control of their products they buy etc.. Such a great message and one we believe is the heart of the kits we make.

Discover Electronics and Mouse Squad

Giant breadboards

Artist Papertronics Part 2: Kenzo Minami

Futuristic Papertronic by Kenzo Minami

Our second artist Papertronic is by Kenzo Minami, a Japanese illustrator and fashion designer who works in NYC.

His work is described as bold primary colours, seemingly drawing influences from video controls, crash test dummies, television test cards and other staples of the late twentieth century. We think the Lunar Lander piece was a great fit for his style. When we added the LEDs, this little robot really came to life.

Also check out  his illustrations for Affinity bike, a Brooklyn based mostly fixed gear bike company. His work looks so fresh on both canvases!

Stay tuned for more artist Papertronics next week…..


Kenzo Minami's piece in the show

Kenzo Minami takes on the future



Pound Dollar Euro

Silkscreen 2011 Kenzo Minami

Why free play is so important

People are always asking us about our Discover Electronics kit “So what can you do with it? or What does it make?” This NPR segment with Alix Spiegel really speaks to the Sparkle Labs’ design philosophy. Everyone with children should listen to it and read the great free play ideas in the left margin.

But during the second half of the 20th century, Chudacoff argues, play changed radically. Instead of spending their time in autonomous shifting make-believe, children were supplied with ever more specific toys for play and predetermined scripts. Essentially, instead of playing pirate with a tree branch they played Star Wars with a toy light saber. Chudacoff calls this the commercialization and co-optation of child’s play — a trend which begins to shrink the size of children’s imaginative space.

One play idea

Activities That Require Planning: Games with directions, patterns for construction, recipes for cooking, for instance.