Toys from Trash

This site is really cool

It’s like instructables – but a lot simpler, with a lot of general scientific building blocks/principles turned into toys etc.



This stuff has so much more imaginative potential than the mountains of injection-moulded crap that turns up in Toysrus. It would be cool to have a similar site which has building blocks of really useful technologies – like using plastic bottles to sterilise water etc. Kindof like a Lifehacker style knowledge-sharing site for the billions of people on this planet who don’t have access to clean water etc.

6 Comments » for Toys from Trash
  1. Lonny says:

    The site has some general toys, whereas Appropedia would probably only host sustainability focused ones like the

    Thanks for the shout out Fenn!

  2. Nick Taylor says:

    Oh indeed – appropedia is great, and architecturally (being a wiki) has more scope/potential than an owner-run site.

    Part of what I like about the Toy site is that it’s an “easy in”. I’m from the internet. I have the concentration span of a gnat… I can scan a page of thumb-type pictures in a couple of seconds without taxing my brain. It’s all “candy candy candy”, but i’m guessing I’m not alone.

    I think what appropedia needs is a thumbnailed interface onto each of the articles. I mean search is good, browsing is good, tagging is good… but nothing is as fast as looking at images.

  3. Lonny says:

    Hi Nick,

    I agree about the ‘easy in’ aspect. We have some pages on Appropedia like that, such as and (are those better from a gnat perspective?). But we sure could use a lot more.

    Thanks for the feedback… I hear you on the few second threshold.

  4. Nick Taylor says:

    Yea – that’s it. I’m gravitating towards this sort of design for most of my new projects now… I tend to go for 3 columns and bigger pictures.

    Have you seen how Opera interprets RSS? It’s often easier to read than the originating website… and I have this unarticulated/un-thought-through feeling that delivering information from multiple sites through a consistent “design-free” interface might actually be a major aid to comprehension/information flow. do it as well – the three-column thumbed thing… the idea is that the picture is such a succinct “description” of what the article is about, that reading the caption is a secondary excercise.

    I’m in the final stages of writing an application that works a bit like friend-feed, but parses the linked articles, pulling out a video or the biggest picture… to do just this. It’s not ground-breaking I’m sure, but it does kindof make life easier. If you’re a gnat etc.

  5. Lonny says:

    That’s great. I have been working on a similar style page for the projects I am working on. I look forward to seeing your application!

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  1. […] also reminds me a bit (because of the recycling angle) of that utterly brilliant Indian site which has hundreds of DIY toys/Experiments etc. Social […]