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lego-back-to-the-future-box.jpgGreat Scott! Lego have today announced that you can now pick up an official Back To The Future Lego set, featuring the DeLorean time machine, Doc Brown and Marty McFly (with skateboard/hoverboard, naturally).back-to-the-future-mid.jpgThe set began life as a Cuusoo project - Lego's forum for fan-submitted sets which, if they earn enough support from the community (and any potential licensing issues can be worked out), stand the chance of being made into a full model kit. The time-travelling set beat off competition from a Rifter ship from the EVE Online massively-multiplayer online game, a scene from The Legend of Zelda, and a modular Western Town scene.back-to-the-future-bot.jpgOther LEGO CUUSOO projects that have been produced for sale include: LEGO Minecraft Microworld, a LEGO Hayabusa asteroid explorer, and the LEGO Shinkai 6500 submarine.

Creative types who have their whose Lego Cuusoo ideas selected for production earn one percent of the total net sales of the product, but Masashi Togami, a creative director from Tokyo, Japan who designed the Back To The Future kit, has generously decided to donate his royalty to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

A limited edition set, you can pick up the Lego Back to the Future Time Machine for £34.99/

custom-stormtrooper.jpgYou won't need to see this Stormtrooper toy's identification, as it'll be a direct replica of your own ugly mug!

Disney's Hollywood Studios is offering visitors the chance to put their own face on a 3D printed Star Wars Stormtrooper figurine for $99.95 (about £65) as part of its annual Star Wars Weekends event.

Disney uses high quality single-shot technology to create a 3D rendering of the would-be Stormtroopers head in just ten minutes. Those who take part will then receive a 7.5-inch model in the post roughly two months later.

Running during the weekends between May 17th and June 9th, Disney are also opening last year's Carbon-Freeze Me experience again, popping visitors into a carbonite casing like the one that trapped Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back. You can check it out below.
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Some days here at Tech Digest, we come across things that aren't necessarily tech related, but that are so amazing that we can't help but share them with you. Today is one of those days: feast your eyes on The Live Action Toy Story Project.

Yep, you guessed it - it's the entire first Toy Story film, re-created in live action with real-life toys. It's the happiest, most wonderful fan-made labour of love I've seen in a long, long time. I defy you to hit play and not crack a smile uncharacteristically wide for a Monday morning.

The whole movie remake has been masterminded by just two guys, Jonason Pauley and Jesse Perrotta, who started the project back in June 2010 when they were just 17 and 18 years old respectively. Beginning by just shooting a few favourite scenes, the footage was so well received that they decided in September 2011 to commit to completing the whole film.

Taking over two rooms in Pauley's house to use as makeshift sets and building some characters that can't be bought from scratch, the film was completed back in August, but the pair feared potential legal action from Toy Story creators Pixar.

Last week the two approached Pixar with the movie, who were so impressed with the outcome that they've agreed to let the pair distribute the flick online. Nicely done Pixar.

It's really great fun. Line this up in your lunch break, kick back and enjoy!

More info on the project can be found here.

warcarft-mega-blocks.jpgYou've already sunk hundreds of hours into levelling up your orcs and dwarves in the World of Warcraft MMORPG. Now prepare to lose countless more hours building that very same Warcraft world from the ground up with a new range of construction toys from Mega Bloks.

Plenty of recognisable characters and locations from the game are being re-imagined as the block building toys, including Sindragosa and the Lich King, and even the mighty Stormwind Castle.

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"After seeing a preview at Blizzcon 2011, the online community has been vocal about their excitement for the game-inspired product line," reads the Mega Blok's statement.

"Mega Bloks' offering features an authentic series of highly detailed figurines from the 2 different factions - Alliance and Horde, collectible weapons, interchangeable armour sets, unique mounts, customisable dragons, iconic battle scenes and much much more!"

Available later this month, you'll be able to pick up the official World of Warcraft Mega Bloks sets from Argos stores.

2001-iphone-charger.jpg...and I don't even have an iPhone.

There are few films cooler when it comes to artistic design than 2001: A Space Odyssey, few toys more amazing than LEGO, and no smartphones slicker in terms of industrial design than the iPhone 4S. Put them all together and you've got quite the nerdgasm going on.

Though the image doesn't really give much away, it looks as though the creator of this neat diorama has simply threaded an iPhone charging cable up through a gap in the scene's base.

I love how the iPhone 4 really does look the spitting image of Stanley Kubrick's mysterious, ominous inter-dimensional monolith from the movie.

If you think the ape men went crazy when the monolith arrived in the film, those LEGO monkeys are really going to lose their sh*t when Siri can't understand their squeaks and whoops.

Via: Imgur

HANDS ON PREVIEW: Parrot AR Drone 2.0

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Parrot AR Drone 2.0
Toys for boys don't get much cooler than the Parrot AR Drone quadricopter line. Lightwieght, iPhone controlled four-bladed remote control helicopters, they stole the CES limelight back in 2010. Back with a new and improved version (set for release in the UK in June 2012) we went hands on with the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 at a preview event last night, managing a mid-air collision in the first 20 seconds of getting our hands on the controls. Whoops!

That's not to say the AR Drone 2.0 is difficult to pilot. Far from it in fact; thanks to a new iOS app (compatible with iPod touch, iPad and iPhone) it's easier than ever to fly the Drone. A new "Absolute Flight" method has been added, making flight controls very intuitive. Two thumb sticks are onscreen. While the right stick is a touch slider that controls height and rotation, the left one is actually a button which activates the iOS device's gyrometer. With the button pressed, it's just a matter of leaning the controller forwards, backwards, left or right to get the chopper heading about in the appropriate direction.

The unusual shape of the Drone means it can sometimes be difficult to recognise where the front of the quadricopter lies, and so orientating your movements to ensure you're always headed in the right direction could be tough with older models. The Drone 2.0 uses a 3D magnetometer, which uses the pilot's positioning as the reference point for movement, meaning you no longer have to worry about which way the Drone is facing. It's optional of course (you can still go through the app's settings to select "Relative Flight" mode, making the nose of the Drone the true front position), but it's a welcome addition for flight newbies.
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Once you've mastered the basic controls, you're now able to pull off stunts with the Drone too. Double tapping on the app's thumbsticks sees the Drone 2.0 do a quick mid-air flip, which raised gasps from the journalists collected at the preview event. The Drones are surprisingly stable too; we pushed down on one hovering in mid-air near us, and it was able to adjust its pitch and yaw accordingly to remain in flight. With the range of the Drone only limited by the strength of your device's Wi-Fi signal, you therefore can trust in the Drone's ability to fly significant distances, even in fairly harsh weather conditions, without too many problems.

Perhaps the most useful new feature on the Drone 2.0 however is the ability to shoot 720p video directly from the chopper. When in flight, you get sent a real-time video feed directly to your iOS device of exactly what the camera is picking up. If it's something worth documenting, you can quickly hit the record button, which beams the video into storage on your device, ready to be quickly uploaded to YouTube. The same can be done with still images, which can be pushed to Picasa. Facebook sharing is top of the list of features coming in a forthcoming update too.
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If the AR Drone 2.0 has one Achilles Heel, it's battery life. You'll get just 12 minutes of flight time per fully charged battery, and while the battery is easily removed and swappable, we weren't able to get confirmation of the cost of replacement batteries. If they're reasonably cheap that's not so big a deal, but it could be frustrating to have to head home from the park after less than a quarter of an hour's flight. With that said, we recognise it's a necessary evil; for flight control to be as effortless as it is with the Drone 2.0, the overall weight of the chopper has to be kept low, and a larger capacity battery would surely add significant heft.

But when it's in the air, it sure is a damn lot of fun. Hitting Amazon, Firebox, Harrods, Selfridges and select high street retailers and hobby shops in June 2012 for £279.99, we'll try to bring you a full review in the near future.

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The worlds of online and table-top gaming are set to converge this summer, as Blizzard have just revealed they are to sell branded versions of popular boardgames based on their videogames.

Monopoly: World of Warcraft and RISK: Starcraft are set to hit stores soon, with both making their debut at the Toy Fair in New York City on February 12, officially made by USAopoloy.

Fans of both the boardgames and the videogames will get the chance to influence the design of the tabletop titles too, with the company holding a poll via Facebook where you can choose which set pieces will make it into the final version of the Monopoly game.

No word yet on a UK release, but in the US Monopoly: World of Warcraft will be available for $39.95 from May, with RISK: Starcraft hitting stores later this summer with a $49.45 price tag.

It's not the first time tabletop gaming and videogames have joined forces, with plenty of home-made fan efforts and official releases doing the rounds on the web. Just take a look at these nifty Konami-licensed Metal Gear Solid RISK and fan-made Mass Effect Monopoly versions.


My Mum always used to argue that I played with the packaging to my toys more than I did the action figures themselves. Well, had I been born 20 years later I think my Mum would have been right; these new augmented reality toy packagings from Bandai look absolutely awesome.

Appearing on the packaging of new Thundercats, Ben 10 and Power Rangers toys, an AR trigger on the boxes to each toy can be set off using the Aurasma image recognition app.

Kids are then presented with a to-scale 3D animated model of the toy they're looking to purchase, letting them see it from all sides and angles without having to open the box before purchasing.

It's not just fun for kids, but useful for parents too; while Bandai and Aurasma haven't yet made mention of the AR triggers hitting their websites, it makes perfect sense as a tool for kids and parents alike to preview their purchases online before handing over their cash. It'll also allow potential buyers to check the commercial for each toy line too, which could help an out-of-the-loop adult in recognising a much-sought-after toy.

"The toy industry is always looking for new ways to excite customers so we are thrilled to be the first partner of this pioneering 3D technology creating 21st century window shopping," said Darrell Jones, Marketing Director at Bandai.

"The fact that consumers can see their toys virtually and also watch them in action in the TV commercial anywhere in the world is a real first for the toy industry, and we look forward to extending the partnership across all our toys in 2012."

Martina King, Managing Director of Aurasma, shared Jones's enthusiasm:

"Parents will now have to remember not to throw away the packaging which, thanks to Aurasma, looks set to become an essential part of the toy's experience and something kids keep returning to.

"Using new technology comes as second nature to kids today and whether using their parents' or their own mobile phone, this imaginative partnership between Aurasma and Bandai will delight the whole family. And best of all, because Aurasma is free to download, it means that now pocket money can be stretched just that little bit further."

It looks really great, like something out of Toy Story. Check the video above to see Thundercat's Lion-O in action.

lego-frodo.jpgCan you think of a more perfect licensed match up than Lord of the Rings and LEGO?

Nope, neither can we, which is why we're so excited to hear that LEGO have confirmed official Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit LEGO sets are on their way.

From hobbits to orcs, wizards to weird flaming vagina eyes, the whole Tolkien universe is getting miniaturised into LEGO form.

"Our collaboration with Warner Bros. Consumer Products has delivered numerous worldwide successes in the construction toy aisle with lines like LEGO HARRY POTTER and LEGO BATMAN, introducing us to loyal audiences who love great stories, strong characters and the toys that they inspire," said Jill Wilfert, vice president, licensing and entertainment for The LEGO Group.

"It's particularly exciting to now be able to create sets based on the fantasy worlds and characters from THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and the two films based on THE HOBBIT, not only because we know they will foster collectability and creative play, but also because these are two properties that our fans have been asking us to create for years."

No details other than that and the above teaser pic to go on for now, but keep your eyes on thelordoftherings.lego.com for further updates.

In the meantime, to illustrate just how awesome these kits could be, check out a fan-built LEGO tower of Isengard below.

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scrooge1.jpgBah, humbug! It's just one big money-spinner, the Christmas thing, isn't it? Same old thing every year; packed shops, expensive wrapping paper that just gets torn to pieces anyway, and what do we get in return? Socks.

Well slap a night cap on us and call us all Scrooges, but Tech Digest are doing Christmas this year on the cheap. If you're planning your own festive austerity measures, check out our top tips below for stocking fillers for under a tenner.

When you're done here, be sure to check out the rest of Tech Digest's 2011 Christmas wishlists too.

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: Retro presents

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retro-presents-banner.jpgiPad this and 3DTV that! Who said Christmas had to be all about high-tech gadgetry?

Well, us probably! But that doesn't mean we don't have a soft spot for simpler times. So why not jump in the back of Tech Digest's Delorean and take a trip down memory lane, as we pick ten of our favourite retro (and retro inspired) gifts to pop on your Christmas wishlist.

When you're done here, be sure to check out the rest of Tech Digest's 2011 Christmas wishlists too.

Lego and Minecraft to team up for mini-kits?

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We've seen Creeper t-shirts, blocky foam pickaxes, we've even seen Post-it note cubes made to look like 8-bit stone masonry! But when it comes to Minecraft merchandise, the Holy Grail pipe dream has always been a hook-up between Minecraft and Lego.

What better partnership than one between the two building block, imagination fuelling giants of the physical and digital worlds?

That dream may soon become a reality. Minecraft have announced that they are pitching a number of Minecraft themed mini-kits under the Lego Cuusoo label.

Lego's Cuusoo label is a little like Kickstarter for the brick-building world. User's pitch potential Lego kit ideas to the wider Lego community and, if they reach 10,000 votes, Lego then review the idea for a possible production run.

A number of Minecraft kits have already been pitched by fans, but now Mojang (creators of the Minecraft videogame) have officially backed the work by Cuusoo members koalaexpert and suparMacho, who are now collaborating together to come up with the ultimate Minecraft Lego kit for submission.

"Seeing Lego Minecraft sets is also our dream, so we linked to one of the projects," said a Mojang spokesperson.

"It's clear to us that there are many creative people with good ideas for this and we want to throw our own hat into the ring and start this project to bring the best Lego Minecraft builders together. Minecraft is about placing blocks to build anything you can imagine in the virtual world. You can build anything you imagine with Lego bricks in the physical world. Minecraft and Lego were meant to be together."

With the supporter count for the official Minecraft Lego kit already topping 2,000 votes (and growing very quickly) an official Minecraft Lego kit may be with us very quickly indeed.

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In many households, video games have become the natural successors to traditional toys. With gaming hardware becoming ever more advanced, the corners of our childhood imaginations that previously could not be matched by a videogame can now be brought fully to life on consoles.

Though the two areas have sat in uneasy competition when it comes to being the most-wanted kids gift come the Christmas rush, this year will see the worlds of gaming and toys combine.

Activision are re-launching their popular Spyro the Dragon series with a bold new title called Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure.

Catching clips of the game makes it looks like a fun, if generic platformer, with the dragon and his pals on a quest to save their world from Kaos, an evil Portal Master.

However, this PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii title differs greatly from what's on the shelves right now as it ships with toys that are used to play through and unlock new areas of the game. Shipping with three action figures and the game software itself, Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure also comes with a peripheral called the "Portal of Power". Gamers place one of the many collectible toys compatible with the game on the "Portal" stand, which sees their toy come to life as an in-game, playable character. Any progression a player makes is then stored with the toy, which can be brought to pals' houses and played with on their Spyro games too.

Likewise, Carte Blanche Greetings are expanding their Tatty Teddy range to include an online, free-to-play game called Me To You My Place. They're launching a new Tatty Puppy soft toy in stores that comes with a code to unlock the mischievous mutt as a character in the game.

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"With the launch of metoyoumyplace.com Carte Blanche Greetings has successfully taken a 15 year old physical presence and made it even more digitally relevant, truly giving its dedicated following a space to claim for themselves and continue to enjoy the brand both offline and online," says Jocasta Kelsey, Head of Marketing at Carte Blanche Greetings.

"This is a fantastic new adventure for both the brands and its community as Carte Blanche Greetings keeps on breaking new ground."

So is this growing trend a good thing for kids?

I'd say so. Videogames are unavoidably attractive to kids with their bright visuals and cutesy characters, but spending too much time in virtual worlds, especially if playing alone, can be stunting and at times isolating. Skylanders actively encourages groups of kids to get together with their toys as well as their games controllers, creating their own real-world adventures to go alongside the virtual ones, and that can only be a good thing. You can argue that blurring the lines between the virtual and real-worlds can be damaging and confusing for youngsters, but with children increasingly exploring online and communicating through games communities such as Xbox Live and Facebook, these safe, kid-friendly zones may be the perfect introduction to inevitable online exposure.

Is it a good thing for parents though?

In terms of your wallets, perhaps not, at least where Skylanders is concerned. Where once a videogame was a one-off purchase, the introduction of collectible toys that unlock new areas of a game mean that for your children to get the full package, you're going to have to go beyond the "Starter Pack" that ships with the game and pick up a handful more toys to flesh out the experience. Though no pricing has been announced yet, you can hazard a guess at around £5-£10 a toy and £50+ for the game and toy-link portal. When you consider that there are in all 32 characters to own, that could get very pricey indeed.

Likewise, if the formula perfected by other online web-based titles like Farmville is followed by Carte Blanche Greetings, you can eventually expect plenty of Tatty Puppy virtual gifts to have to consider too.

Is this the most geek-friendly vibrator of all time? Take a look at the Duet, a waterproof USB-powered vibrator that could be as useful in the workplace as it is in the bedroom.

Now, before you start sniggering about quivering office desks, note this - have you ever heard of a vibrator with 16GB of flash storage space on it? No? Exactly - so it'd be handy for carrying around work files too, see?

Or you could just fill it up with porn. Which is fine too!

Getting down to the nitty-gritty of the vibrations sexier functions then, it has four different vibration patterns, five different power levels and is water proof up to three metres deep, making it fine for use in the shower.

Recharging over USB and giving 8 hours of fun times, the Duet is made of body-friendly silicone and metals, meaning it's totally fine to get intimate with too.

It's discrete too, barely making a sound when on and looking like, well, a slightly curvy USB thumb drive in your bag.

Right now The Duet is still in the fundraising stages before going into mass production, but you can bag yourself one of the toys at a far cheaper price by checking their CKIE product page, which will also go someway towards helping them hit your local Ann Summers store a lot sooner too.


We've seen some strange things during our time at Tech Digest, but this surely ranks up there among some of the maddest toys we've ever seen.

Introducing Dance Star Mickey, turning Disney's squeaky-voiced mascot into a robot dance instructor.

Clapping and shouting out dance moves, your little ones can go from flat-footed fools to Pineapple Dance Studio-grade performers with a little help from the world famous rodent.

Admittedly, it's a little creepy (and Mickey's moonwalking abilities may lead to some unwanted comparisons to that other creepy star), but to innocent eyes this'll be great fun, whilst bringing a wry smile to parents too.

Costing £69.99 from Amazon, expect plenty of tears if your kids don't find this one under the tree come Christmas morning.

Hit the video above to see that moonwalk move in action.

Is this the best Transformers toy ever?

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We've seen some pretty great Transformers in our toybox exploring time (and some pretty unfortunately named ones too) but this has to be the maddest one we've ever seen.

Feast your eyes below on the Ultimate Optimus Prime Transformer! Aimed at kids aged five and up, this massive robot in disguise stands over a foot tall, transforming the Autobot leader from his trailer form to a massive winged warrior.

Running off 3 AA batteries with flashing lights and sounds from the recent Hollywood flick, Optimus Prime can also turn into a Power-Up Blaster weapon with it's own set of sound effects.

Pricing is TBC, but you can add it to your Amazon Wishlist by clicking here.

Scroll down for some shots of Ultimate Optimus Prime strutting his metallic stuff.

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As part of the newly launched AppPowered range (which links hardware with smartphone apps), Griffin today reveal their Helo TC helicopter, an iPhone/iPad controlled chopper that looking to land in your Christmas stocking.

Using either an on screen virtual control stick called "the cyclic" or a "Tilt-to-fly" set-up using the smartphone's accelerometer, the Helo TC is designed to fly about your living room, rather than outside down the park.

Charging over USB in just half an hour, the built-in lithium battery will be good for 8 minutes of flight time per charge. You can then programme up to three flight routines once you've got the manual controls mastered, meaning you can show off your best tricks at a simple push of a button.

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These things can be a little tricky to control at first, leading to a fair few tears when a rotor blade snaps after a big crash. Thakfully Griffin have accomodated for such eventualities by providing a spare set of main and tail rotor blades for the bumbling stunt pilot.

Hitting shops just in time for Christmas, it's yours for £34.99 - a fair sight cheaper than the Parrot AR.Drone which has a similar control method.

In my day you'd be lucky if a toy gun made a clicking sound when you pulled the trigger, but the wonders of augmented reality tech make the AppBlaster plastic pistol a far more exciting prospect than the shooters of old.

By downloading a corresponding iOS app and clicking your iPod Touch or iPhone into the AppBlaster's casing, your touchscreen becomes a viewfinder into a secret alien inavasion taking place in your real-world surroundings. It's up to you, and your fake gun, to take them out.

Basically, the gun turns your living room, or anywhere you may take the AppBlaster, into a real world first-person shooter game, with the aliens appearing to fly into the screen from your very surroundings. As the gun uses rubber stamps on a mechanism to tap buttons on your touchscreen as you pull the trigger, there's no actual electronics at work in the AppBlaster, keeping its cost low.

Available for pre-order now from Red5.co.uk, it'll set you back just £20, with units due to be shipped by July 7th. Just make sure you don't try any Bruce Willis-style action hero rolls while playing with the gun, if you value you're Apple device's dainty screen!


Proving it's not all about tablets and smartphones at this year's Mobile World Congress event are SK Telecom, who were previewing thier fun new 3D Magic Book range.

Bringing augmented reality to childrens text books, the 3D Magic Book combines a picture book with some PC software that, when used in tandem with a regular webcam, brings the pages to life on your PC screen with cool 3D graphics.

It looks great fun, and would be a great learning tool for youngsters or those who find musty old tomes a little dry.

Launching in Korea in the next two months, the 3D Magic Book will touch down in the USA by the end of the year. No word yet on a European launch, but we'll keep you posted. For now, hit the video above to have a ganders at a dinosaur dinner party.

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Monopoly Live, the new version of the classic board game, electronically monitors proceedings and makes sure no one cheats. A ten-inch tower sits in the middle of the board, where it watches your piece as it moves about the board. It will announce whose turn it is, make sure you land on the right spot, and automatically transfer money owed into your Monopoly bank account.

The tower works by flooding the board with infra-red light, using a camera to spot reflectors on each piece. To roll the die, you will need to cup your hand over your piece and the tower will roll for you, making a fake rolling sound as it does so.

So no more slipping notes between sofa cushions, no more 'miscounting' when moving pieces, and no more fights and disputes. No more fun, in other words, as this battery-powered Eye of Sauron threatens to ruin all that is good and fun about Monopoly. So we're relieved to hear game maker Hasbro reassures we will be able to buy the old version still.

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