In hopes of trying to pair related items which come from at least somewhat different arenas, I wanted to call attention to a couple of toy-related efforts that lie on what I’d call the outskirts of design. The first is a relatively old project called “Virsual” (Link) which is a digital rocking horse for children. This interactive toy works along the same lines as exer-cyclists sweating in place while viewing a dynamic landscape on a screen in front of them, but is much, much more cool. From the Virsual website:
There is nothing new about external game devices, just visit your local video arcade and you will find cars, bikes, and even fishing rod simulations, what is special about Virsual is that it is not a simulator it is first and foremost a rocking horse.
There are plenty of computerized electronic learning games and interactive puppets, but this kind of integration seems to still be relatively rare in the toy industry (though I could be wrong; someone with kids feel free to educate me on this).
On the other end of the spectrum (kinda) are the more-or-less collectible toys for adults; the urban vinyl, underground hipster stuff I’ve been following for a while. While I’d guess it’s been done before by an independent, last week was the first time I recall seeing a design start off as a 3D (virtual) model which was then rapid-prototyped. This is common for toy companies, but uncommon for individuals. Vinyl Pulse carries the entry (Link) as part of their ongoing “Proto Monday” series. More interesting to me than the methodology are the comments. Be sure to read them.
Virsual via Architectradure
Vinyl Pulse entry via Core77 forum post by the designer