21st Century Old-Fashioned Toy Tech

Fun & Games Music Photography & Video

Two inventors from Lisbon, Portugal are applying their maker smarts to the toy world through their company, Make2Play.

Handmade Gramophone

Make 2 Play's handmade gramophone.
Make 2 Play’s handmade gramophone.

Their D-Jay kit, expected to retail for $49, is essentially a 21st century re-imagining of an old fashioned Victrola, just in time for the resurrection of vinyl records. Three AAA batteries drives a pulley system that spins the platter at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute. A phonograph-type needle picks up the vibrations from the record’s grooves and outputs it through an amplifier guaranteed to be free of electronic hiss: a simple vibrating diaphragm in a paper cone. The resulting sound is definitely … interesting. The size of the diaphragm pretty much eliminates the low frequencies of the music, so you’re not likely to groove to drums and bass with this setup, and you’re more likely to understand why 100 year old music sounds so tinny. Still, for a handmade phonograph, getting any sound may well count as amazing.

Confetti Party

M2P’s hand vacuum kit, Vortex, retailing at $25, takes an ordinary thin plastic water bottle and fits it into a handgun-shaped armature that squeezes and flexes the bottle. One type of squeeze turns the bottle into a small hand vacuum, perfect for cleaning up after small confetti parties.

Squeezing the bottle a different way turns it into a small confetti blower. Cycling between the two modes can, with a bit of imagination, provide hours of alternating festive and janitorial fun.

Pinhole Camera


And finally, their pinhole camera kit, to be released later in 2014, turns a wooden box and a square of thick aluminum foil into a working Polaroid camera (using film provided by a Dutch company that purchased the manufacturing rights). The resulting camera is realistically usable only in sunlight, but (harking back to the D-Jay), the fact that a homemade lensless wooden camera can capture any image at all is pretty amazing.

2014-02-17 13.13.21

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Patrick is an editor at MAKE. He is the author of the books Environmental Monitoring with Arduino, Atmospheric Monitoring with Arduino, The Science of Battlestar Galactica, and This is What You Just Put In Your Mouth. He has sworn to defend mankind against the eventual rise of the killer bots.

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