SMART, CHEAP, AND FUN ; Arvind Gupta demonstrates Matchstick Meccano geometric solids made of matches and bike valve tubes. ; Newton’s Color Disc made from a CD and a marble. ; The Magnetic Levitating Pencil toy that inspired Hamsa Padmanabhan’s award-winning research paper. ; The Touching Slate draws with yarn on velcro.
was just 16 at the time, and she’s currently
doing her postgrad in physics here at Pune
University. She is a star now — literally!
RS: How can people support your work?
AG: I have just one request: translate my
videos into as many languages as you can,
and gift it to kids across the globe. All I want
is the happiness in their minds from knowing that they can create things. My work is
available in text format as well as video, and
volunteers have translated it into many Indian
languages already. Now I just hope that more
people will make it accessible in other locations that lack heavy monetary resources
for helping kids learn and grow. My toys are
low-cost so that anyone can afford making
them without worrying about money. So
please go ahead and spread the good work;
the kids will bless you for doing that.
There’s another request I have for teachers:
let students make such toys themselves and
do some practical learning, rather than just
cramming them with text on paper.
RS: Tell us about one toy that touches
AG: The Touching Slate was devised by
a friend-couple for their blind child, Nikunj.
It’s a pen that “writes” with a spool of wool
yarn on a panel covered with the hook side of
velcro. Blind kids can use the slate to make
shapes and recognize them by feel, but it’s
fun for sighted children as well. Together,
these friends of mine and I have made many
such slates and gifted them to blind kids.
See makezine.com/28/gupta for instructional links to all the toys mentioned in this
article, plus additional photos and video.
Rohit Srivastwa ( rohit11.com) is a leading network security
evangelist based in Pune, India. He founded ClubHack and its
free e-magazine CHMag ( chmag.in).
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