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Toy that Runs and Hides

Well, more like "rolls and hides".
  (+53, -1)(+53, -1)(+53, -1)
(+53, -1)
  [vote for,

The Toy that Runs and Hides is spherical with lots of lumps sticking out of it. A bit like a grapefruit-sized golfball except that the dimples are replaced by bumps raised above the surface by about a centimetre. And there are less bumps on this ball than there are dimples on a golf ball. Plus it's brightly coloured and has lights that flash and a speaker that can go bip and bong. So not much like a golfball at all. Or a grapefruit. But hopefully you get a picture of it.

The Toy that Runs and Hides has a few different modes:
Child mode -- the toy will react with bips and bongs when its lumps are pushed (well wouldn't you?). It also flashes lights under its skin and under its lumps. If the child pushes one of the lumps that are currently illuminated it might play a tune. (Basically a spherical activity centre).
Puzzle mode -- try to turn off all the lights by pushing the lumps. Each lump changes the state of one or more lights. You have to figure out the relationship between the two.
Reaction mode -- the toy will light one of its lumps and you have to push it as fast as possible to extinguish it. It's a sphere so not all the lumps will be in view at once.

Finally, if the Toy that Runs and Hides is left unattended it enters its fourth mode -- 'lurk' mode. In lurk mode, the Toy that Runs and Hides uses its previously undisclosed ability of radial lump movement to extend and retract its lumps independently so that it can roll around the floor. It moves about almost randomly using light sensors to work out when it is in relative shadow. When it feels that it is in the dark it sits there and 'lurks', occasionally emitting a mewing sound. Generally from under the sofa.

Come morning you either have to go looking for the Toy that Runs and Hides or use the handy remote to switch it from 'lurk' to 'here boy' at which point it uses a signal direction finder to roll in the drection of the remote you are holding.

If the Toy that Runs and Hides is disturbed when in 'lurk' mode it will revert to 'child' mode so that it's always ready for use when your toddler finds it.

If the Toy that Runs and Hides is left in its charging cradle (ie put away) it will neither attempt to run nor hide.

Do not taunt the Toy that Runs and Hides.

st3f, Jun 09 2005

Clock that runs and hides http://web.media.mi...rojects/clocky.html
[calum, Jun 10 2005]

Rollin' rollin' rollin'... http://www.automati...cs/ball/ballrob.htm
Keep them servo's rollin'. Rawhide! Whpppshhh! [2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jun 11 2005]

Weaselball http://www.weaselballs.com/
a crappy rolling ball with a weasel, but it's a start... [sleeka, Aug 23 2005]


       I really wish I could vote more than once on this. +
ato_de, Jun 09 2005

       Impressive little buggar. I especially like the "lurk" mode feature. Wish I had one, I mean when I was little, naturally.
blissmiss, Jun 09 2005

       hopefully it doesn't spring out from the shadows at speed and scuttle up a wall followed by a well-aimed shoe? oh no, that's a spider...   

       I'd buy one.
po, Jun 09 2005

       Not only brilliant, but probably patentable and quite likely something you might be able to sell. I think you have one year from the time you publish an idea before time runs out to patent it but I could be wrong. (It happened once before.) My only concern would be it running and hiding under the furnace or where daddy keeps those spare handgrenades. But just put a warning on it: "Do not follow Toy that Runs and Hides into fire, caustic chemicals, mine fields, machine gun crossfire or the seventh level of Hell. Do not use Toy that Runs and Hides for carnal purposes." etc. Google "Saturday night live Happy Funball" for other label ideas. (I'm too lazy to put up the link)
doctorremulac3, Jun 09 2005

       I agree - this is an excellent idea. The actual mechanics used to propel the ball seem a bit difficult to me, though.
justaguy, Jun 09 2005

       I can't help thinking about "Neutral reward toy". This is so, so, soooooo much better. And with todays technology this can be easily baked. I think you would do best to follow [doctorremulac3]'s advise. bun, bun, bun and keep bringing it on.
Susan, Jun 09 2005

       It should also have a little compartment you could keep your car keys in.
doctorremulac3, Jun 09 2005

       I like it, but given current tech size and cost considerations, it will be basketball size at best, and probably larger. Making hiding more difficult.
normzone, Jun 09 2005

       it is doable, but I think it would require a pretty complex circuit board arrangement. A 2D circuit board would make for uneven rolling.
Madai, Jun 09 2005


       [radial lump movement to extend and retract its lumps independently so that it can roll around the floor]   

       That feature alone would make it large, and if it's going to have any smart behaviours it will get pricier. But if you'll build it, I'll buy it. Challenge...
normzone, Jun 09 2005

       daseva says to [fqhwgads ]"Everybody to the limit!"   

       for some reason - he is not able to log in.
po, Jun 09 2005

       I was thinking of staying neutral on this, but the last line just pushed the idea up to a bun.
hidden truths, Jun 09 2005

       [fqhwgads], I'll buy it for up to fifty money units. Brilliant idea!   

       //use the handy remote to switch it from 'lurk' to 'here boy' \\ Do not implement this option, it is fine without it.
zeno, Jun 10 2005

       What happens if I taunt it?
RayfordSteele, Jun 10 2005

       I am very curious about the inspiration for the method of locomotion. Has it been done before?
+ by the way, Any toy that cleans itself up has to be a good toy.
Zimmy, Jun 10 2005

       The key to successfully building this toy is to have it actually run and hide whenever a small child approaches. If it can be programmed to work this way it should last forever, because the leading cause of broken toys is small children : )
If it hides too well, then you could build the accessory Toy that Seeks and Finds. Follow that with the Toy that Just Sits There Until You Get Bored With It (Well, I guess that already exists).

       [Rayfo] if you taunt it, it hides under the farthest corner of the sofa and sulks, all the while plotting how to take over the refrigerator.
Canuck, Jun 10 2005

       Very cool.   

       "I am very curious about the inspiration for the method of locomotion." -- Zimmy
The idea from my own brain, though I'm probably not the first to think of it. It came to me when I was trying to think of a competitor for 'Robot Wars' that was *always* the right way up.
st3f, Jun 10 2005

       The lumps drive is highly impractical and expensive. The spinner mechanism that [fqhwgads] (couldn't you have chosen an easier-to-spell username?) suggested would be cheaper and more effective. Ditch the bumps and just have the lights and buttons hidden under the surface of the sphere so that it can roll properly.   

       A few design niggles notwithstanding, I am dispatching a small container of buns, croissants and assorted exotic pastries to [st3f] in honour of this idea.
wagster, Jun 10 2005

       [looks at calum's clock link] Cute. I hope the MIT media labs look at their referer logs.
st3f, Jun 10 2005

       I've got this scenario stuck in my head. It involves a tearful mum explaining to a policeman that the granny of the family was perfectly fit. The policeman is looking doubtful as he can see no reason, other than clumbsiness, why the deceased old lady could have fallen down the stairs.   

       Meanwhile, the multicoloured 'lurk-bot' sits tucked away behind a cabinet - a wee red light flashses grimly.
Jinbish, Jun 10 2005

       Sea(t) Urchin?
Ling, Jun 10 2005

       Could spawn a whole action-figure sub-genre - TTRAH Bounty Hunter.
coprocephalous, Jun 10 2005

       //I think you have one year from the time you publish an idea before time runs out to patent it but I could be wrong.//   

       I, also, could be wrong, but I believe this grace period varies with location.
Detly, Jun 10 2005

       Yes. Year in the US, no time whatsoever in the UK.
jutta, Jun 10 2005

       I think it's three months in Europe (bits of it, anyway), but I'm not sure. There's no grace period in Australia, you just have to play rock-paper-scissors with anyone who disputes. Best of three.
Detly, Jun 10 2005

       Ummm... I've een a toy that rolls randomly, exactly like this, but dumb.   

       It's spherical with lumps sticking out, and it rolls randomly.   

       This is better. +
DesertFox, Jun 10 2005

       Ive always wanted to see a real one after I heard the song   

       "The Marvelous toy" (Peter, Paul & Mary)   

       Refrain: It went zip when it moved and pop when it stopped, Whirrr when it stood still I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will.
Isayhello2u, Jun 10 2005

       Love the transport. Perhaps with long telescopic ‘lumps’ it could climb stairs.
Shz, Jun 10 2005

       Come on, [fqhwgads], I say, come on [fqhwgads]!
daseva, Jun 10 2005

       Could you use hydraulics for the lumps, squirting fluid into the little stump sacks? ...Make it like an echinoderm. Now that would be cool.
radicalllama, Jun 10 2005

       [wiggles rear-end]
po, Jun 10 2005

       [po], you're a dance machine!
daseva, Jun 10 2005

       If it senses nearby people (via ground vibrations) after being left in "lurk" mode for too long or //you taunt it//:   

       Mode 6: Attack mode.
nick_n_uit, Jun 11 2005

       The reaction to 'taunt' is much more complex.
daseva, Jun 11 2005

       Equipped with motion sensors it could chase your pets when you're not home.   

       Oh yeah, fairly cool link too [Link].   

       I don't remember how those weaselballs [link] work, and if they dart randomly or not. It could be a starting point, though (and they are quite inexpensive). +
sleeka, Aug 23 2005

       //Has it been done before?   

       In amoebas.
Cuit_au_Four, Aug 24 2005


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