NeoCube and BuckyBalls: Tiny Magnets, Huge Fun

For my birthday, Justin gave me an odd little thing called Neocube. Essentially, it’s just an assortment of a bunch of tiny, powerful magnets. No fancy mechanical inner workings, no batteries – just a bunch of magnets.

They’re fantastic.

There are a ton of different combinations you can make – many symmetrical and full of patterns. It took me a while to successfully build the cube (above), and it’s equally fun just pulling at the magnets. They’re all pretty powerful, and when you tug at them, the magnets almost react a bit like string – they peel apart, slowly.

Ever since I got these, they’ve been on my desk at work. I end up handing them over to people who visit me to talk about projects and such, and invariably people just get drawn to this guy and get sucked in. Anymore, and this is in all seriousness… I’m barely making eye contact with folks, as they just get all absorbed in playing around with these magnets. There have been at least three or four people who have said “Wow, I need to get some of these.”

I found an Amazon link for Neocube, but it looks a little sketchy. Additionally, the price is way higher at about $29, versus about $13 from the official site. Not sure which approach to recommend, unfortunately, but erring on the site of caution I might go with the actual site.

Here’s an example video of some of the things you can “make” with the magnets:

// Post-publishing Note: I replaced the video above. In a puzzling move, the original NeoCube video on YouTube was removed due to some copyright issue. This likely means the BB video also doesn’t work. Why on earth would a company make this kind of a move? It’s tantamount to saying “Please, stop advertising my product for free all over the web.” Absolutely ridiculous.

In an interesting kind of a twist, I also came across something called BuckyBalls (via swissmiss). Same product, but with a slightly different name and marketing approach.

Similar to how the Slanket was first to market, but the Snuggie has seemingly won the brand war… I’m curious to see whether this toy really takes off, and which product ends up becoming the recognized name. Neocube made it to BoingBoing Gadgets, which hits a decently sized audience. But man, the Neocube site needs some serious help.

IMO BuckyBalls have a better website and teaser video (and a better name). Check it out:

Regardless of where you get them, they’re definitely a lot of fun. And an odd stress-reliever to boot. Tons of folks in my office can vouch for this, and if you don’t believe me… swing on by my desk, and see for yourself.