Topobo is a construction kit with “kinetic memory”, which mostly means that you teach the little motors in its joints how to move by physically twisting and shaping them with your hands. Some parts will respond directly to your ministrations, while others are slaved to “queen” parts and mimic her movements.
The joint project from Hayes Raffle, Amanda Parkes, Hiroshi Ishii and the MIT Media Lab is still in its beginning stages, but until they get it properly commercialized, they’re only selling rather expensive starter kits: an “Experimenter Set” with 2 motors for $500; and a 24-motor, 1,000-piece “Classroom Set” for $5,000. That probably means your kids will be sticking with Capsela for the moment, but here’s to hoping that Topobo gets some figurative traction to go along with its literal motive abilities. It looks like a lot of fun. [via Oh Gizmo!]