This week, Robert Hutchins takes a look at some of Kickstarter's weirdest and most wonderful.

EDITOR’S COMMENT: The eccentricities of innovation

There was something about the tag line ‘like a Tamagotchi for growing vegetables’ that we here at ToyNews just couldn’t ignore.

That’s not to say that we harbour any particular or unhealthy feelings towards a Maris Piper, but more over share a vested interest in the eccentricities of this generation’s innovators.

And when it comes to eccentric, a carrot-themed toy that encourages kids to grow their own food and monitor their crop’s needs through a friendly carrot avatar has to be nearing the top of that list.

It is in fact a team of Dutch engineering students responsible for this particular concept, after the trio embarked on a project to encourage sustainable food sourcing, proving that there is method in some madness.

That said it probably comes as no surprise that this particular band of forward-thinkers emerged into public view via Kickstarter, a forum where some of the weirdest and most wonderful concepts take form.

And we are certainly glad for it.

For instance, where else – outside of a madman’s laboratory – are you going to find a campaign rallying the need for Merpugs, a range of cuddly mermaid-dog hybrids?

But while a quick search for ‘toys’ on Kickstarter may at times plunge you into the darkest corners of the human psyche, it also has the knack for throwing up a few hidden gems that may just be worth a pledge.

With a definite emphasis on technology toys this week – in no small way inspired by Billy’s fiery defense of tech in the toy industry (honestly, hand the bloke a soapbox…) – Inventor Bulletin believes it may have just struck gold.

Bloxels by a team known as Pixel Press boasts the ability to turn a child’s real life building block construction into an actual video game, all by using app technology.

By placing their building blocks on the Bloxels gameboard and taking a picture via the app, kids can build various components of a videogame, from its layout to its hero character.

The concept – that has just soared past its crowd-funding goal of $40,000 – looks to add yet another arm to the toys to life movement.

They say there’s a fine balance between innovation and eccentricity and we can only imagine how some may have reacted to the idea of toys that came to life on your tablet 20 years ago.

Today, we are happy that technology is helping innovators like you push the boundaries of what is possible in the toy space, and if – like the carrot-Tamagotchi hybrid – it teaches kids the real value of playing with food while doing so, then the more eccentric the better.

That’s enough rambling for me, today. I have a Merpug to water. 

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