Mar 242011

Earlier this month we featured some novel building blocks that help teach robotics to kids, and grew from a project at Carnegie Mellon University.

Now it’s MIT’s turn, with the Sifteo Cubes – 1.5-inch gaming blocks sporting full color screens that respond to motion, and interact with the player and each other as they are moved around. Games and apps can be bought online and wirelessly transferred onto the cubes via an internet-connected computer or laptop. The current title catalog includes adult games, puzzles for kids, and challenges and games that people can play together.

MIT Media Lab students David Merrill and Jeevan Kalanithi first came up with the idea for the Sifteo prototype while studying human-computer interaction. They discovered that some of the most popular non-computer games over the years have involved players picking up and moving physical objects, an element of gameplay which has been mostly overlooked by legacy digital gaming manufacturers.

“Traditional game consoles have lost the tangible and interactive nature of classic tabletop games like Mahjong and dominoes, that bring people together,” said Kalanithi. “Players tell us that Sifteo cubes give families and individuals a more ‘natural’ way to have fun.”

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