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robert desk Childhood Tinkering Inspires Hardware Innovation

If you’re a maker and a parent, you probably let your kids take things apart. According to Toys For Bob’s lead engineer, Robert Leyland, developer of the Skylanders Portal of Power, you’re doing the right thing.

In this fascinating interview by GeekDad’s Andy Robertson, Leyland talks about a childhood of electronics exploration which ultimately lead him to a career developing innovative video game hardware which, to the untrained eye, can appear to be magic.

But if you want to figure out how the magic happens, Leyland suggests opening things up and taking a look. “If any kid opens one of these up and figures out how it works, my job is done. I brought someone along to the next generation of engineers.”
(Just remember how to put it back together or your link to Skylands will be broken.)

He also mentions that the new LightCore Skylanders are not only powered by the portal, but other NFC readers, like security card scanners and some cell phones, making them the cutest radio frequency detectors on the market.

Check out the full interview here

[Full Disclosure: Besides sometimes writing about gaming for MAKE, I'm a game designer working at Toys for Bob.]

Blake Maloof

I design games for work and for fun. I recently graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design, and am now employed as a designer at Toys for Bob.


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