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- The Most Important Fun of the Day
- Toy Industry Reveals 2016 Toy of the Year Finalists
- CARdboard Replicas
- Candied Beets
- The Dark (Chocolate) Side
- Lenin Is Your Father?
- When Brick Pigs Fly!
- Will artificially intelligent toys reduce a child’s capacity for imaginative play?
- With Drone Sales On The Rise, So Are Concerns.
- Horsey Heels
- Beeting Around The Bush
- All Fired Up About Donald Trumpkin
- Starry Night Bike Path
- Vatican You Believe It?
- A Stikeez Situation
- Jewels Of The Toy Aisle
- Extinctly Different Accessories
- A Minion and One Reasons To Stay Off The Roads in Ireland
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- The Toy Super Highway
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- The Theory of Legos
- Fun Cubed
- Sweet Pix
- LEGO Sculptures in Full Bloom – Nature Connects: Art with Lego Bricks
- Puzzlin’ Portrait
- Exploding Toys
- If a tree falls in the forest,…does anyone hear it?
- Coaster To Coaster
- Pop Art Toys
- Bricks That Touch The Sky
- Lego My Egg-ohh!
- The Eyes Have It
- LEGO Jeep
- Yummy Gummy LEGOs
- I Am Chewbacca…Hoodie
- Kitty Rock & Roll Over
- Mashin’ for Mom
- Spongebob Square Shoes
- Decorate, Print and Play Piggy Bank
- Beeting Around The Bush
- Doctor Who Story
- Fun Cubed
- If a tree falls in the forest,...does anyone hear it?
- LEGO Sculptures in Full Bloom - Nature Connects: Art with Lego Bricks
- Sweet Pix
- The Theory of Legos
- "The Art of the Brick" Lego masterpiece exhibit
Wakey, wakey…it’s eggs and bakey…and a whole lot more.
16 sweet gifts for the breakfast lover in your life
Reposted from Mashable November 27, 2015
The holidays are an amazing time of year. Breakfast is an amazing time of the day. It just makes sense to put the two together — especially if there’s someone on your shopping list who simply cannot do without the most important meal of the day.
Here are some gifties for those people in your life who would happily eat waffles for every meal, and who love bacon and eggs more than Ron Swanson.
1. Some trousers for your hardboiled egg
Price: $6.00 from Kikkerland
2. An art print of a classy brunch
Price: $30 from Pink Olive
3. Some eggs ‘n bakey salt ‘n pepper shakeys
Price: $12 from Perpetual Kid
4. A breakfast-themed skincare routine
Price: $35 from Uncommon Goods
5. The most fantastical cereal bowl ever
Price: $38 from Uncommon Goods
6. BFF waffle jewelry
Prices vary, from ScrumptiousDoodle
7. A USB-powered warm toast pillow
Price: $45 from ModCloth
8. A toaster from the dark side
Price: $50 from ThinkGeek
9. This bacon mug
Price: $10 from Sourpuss
10. Some maple bacon lollipops
Price: $9.75 for four lollipops, from Mouth
11. This sweet skillet ornament
Price: $12 from ModCloth
12. Handmade jam in quirky flavors
Price: $15 from Pocketo
13. A sunny-side-up cup
Price: $12 from ModCloth
14. Homemade popped tarts
Price: $4.50 each, from Mouth
15. A robot-inspired egg cup
Price: $12 ModCloth
16. A candle that looks so much like pancakes they’ll want to eat it
Price: $11 from Etsy
There are a lot of great toys and games here. You’ll wanna check them out and put some on your holiday list.
TIA Reveals 2016 Toy of the Year Finalists
NEW YORK – The Toy Industry Association (TIA) has revealed the 84 finalists for the 2016 Toy of the Year Awards (TOTY).
Between now and January 17, 2016, consumers can visit www.ToyAwards.org to vote for their favorite toy picks in each of the 12 categories and enter to win exclusive prizes. The TOTY winners will be announced in February 2016.
“From innovative toys that talk and fly to enriching playthings that teach and inspire, this year’s TOTY finalists have brought joy, laughter and learning to millions of children and families,” said Steve Pasierb, president and CEO, TIA. “The outstanding nominees are a testament to the toy industry’s dedication to the happiness, healthy development, and well-being of kids around the world. We wish each TOTY nominee the best of luck and look forward to honoring the winners in just a few months!”
This year’s finalists were selected from more than 700 nominees submitted by more than 200 companies. More than 40 mass and specialty retail buyers, youth experts, academics and journalists staffed the nomination committees that narrowed down the finalists. The winners in each of the 12 categories, and the “Toy of the Year,” will be selected based on votes from mass and specialty toy retailers, media, TIA members and consumers. The “People’s Choice” award winner will be selected solely by consumer votes. The honorees will be announced at a TOTY Awards ceremony held on Friday, February 12, 2016 as the kick-off to the 113th North American International Toy Fair.
The celebration will include the induction of Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, into the esteemed Toy Industry Hall of Fame, as well as special festivities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Toy Industry Association. The TOTY awards program supports the philanthropic work of the Toy Industry Foundation, which partners with generous toy companies throughout the year to bring brand-new toys to children in need.
This year’s TOTY finalists are: (drum roll please!)
ACTIVITY TOY OF THE YEAR
Arts and crafts, construction and other indoor toys that inspire creative play through various forms of activity
Bunchems by Spin Master Corp.
Chocolate Pen by Skyrocket Toys
Roominate Amusement Park by Roominate
Shrinky Dinks Bake & Shape
3D Jewelry by Alex Brands
Strand Bands Designer Set by The Bridge Direct
Upcycling: Garbage to Glam by Fashion Angels
Yummy Nummies by Blip Toys
BOY TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys developed for boys of any age
Air Hogs Millennium Falcon Quad by Spin Master Corp.
Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage by Mattel
Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens Millenium Falcon by The Lego Group
Nerf N-Strike Modulus ECS-10 Blaster by Hasbro, Inc.
Sky Viper Video Streaming Drone V950STR by Skyrocket Toys
Star Wars Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber by Hasbro Inc.
XPV Hulk Smash RC by Jaks Pacific Inc.
E-CONNECTED TOY OF THE YEAR
A physical toy or game that is app-enabled or otherwise interacts with a smartphone, tablet or gaming device
Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition by Disney
Hello Barbie by Mattel
Kidizoom Action Cam by VTech
Skylanders SuperChargers by Activision Publishing, Inc.
Stikbot Studio by Zing
View-Master® Virtual Reality Viewer by Mattel
Wonder Workshop Dash Robot by Wonder Workshop
EDUCATIONAL TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that help children to develop special skills and knowledge through play
Foundation Chemistry Kit by Yellow Scope
Gears!Gears!Gears! Build & Bloom Building Set by Learning Resources
Kids First Physics Lab by Thames and Kosmos
Magnets in Motion 61Pc Set by Magformers
Mighty Makers Fun on the Ferris Wheel by K’Nex Brands
Number Lovin’ Oven by LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.
VEX Robotics Robotic Arm by Hexbug
GAME OF THE YEAR
Children’s board, card, electronic or other physical game formats and puzzles (does not include video games or apps)
Choice Words by MindWare
Chrono Bomb by Patch Products LLC
Lego Dimensions by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Pie Face Game by Hasbro Inc.
Rush Hour Shift by ThinkFun, Inc.
Three Little Piggies by Smart Toys and Games, Inc.
WOO! By Fat Brain Toy Co.
GIRL TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys developed for girls of any age
Disney’s Frozen Sing-A-Long Elsa by Jakks Pacific, Inc.
Furreal Friends Starlily, My Magical Unicorn by Hasbro Inc.
Girl Scouts Cookie Oven by Wicked Cool Toys
Nancy B’s Science Club Black Light Illuminator & Nature’s Mysteries Journal by Educational Insights
Nerf Rebelle Arrow Revolution Bow by Hasbro, Inc.
Shopkins Scoops Ice Cream Truck by Moose Toys Pty Ltd
Zoomer Kitty by Spin Master Corp.
INFANT/TODDLER TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys developed for infant children and toddlers (ages up to 36 months)
Bright Beats Dance & Move BeatBo by Fisher-Price
Bright Beats Smart Touch Play Space by Fisher-Price
Fold ‘N Go Elephant Toy by Playskool
Lil Ocean Explorers 3-in-1 Adventure Course by Little Tikes
Play All Day Elmo by Playskool
Rolligo by Fat Brain Toy Co.
Storytime Theater™ by Tech 4 Kids
INNOVATIVE TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys that utilize innovative design, technology, or manufacturing processes to enhance play value
Flipsies Sandy’s House & Ocean Cruiser by VTech
i-loom by Wooky Entertainment
Laser Maze™ Jr. by ThinkFun, Inc.
Makey Makey Classic by JoyLabz
Meccanoid G15 by Spin Master Corp.
MiPosaur by WowWee
Star Wars Science – Jedi Force Levitator by Uncle Milton Industries
OUTDOOR TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys designed for outdoor play
Firetek Rocket by Zing
Maisto TECH Rock Crawler 3XL by Maisto – Bburago
Micro Mini2Go by Micro Kickboard
Nerf Rebelle Super Soaker Tri Threat Crossbow by Hasbro, Inc.
Nerf Super Soaker Floodfire Water Blaster by Hasbro, Inc.
R2-D2 Bubble Machine by Imperial Toy LLC
Razor GFD Fury by Razor USA LLC
PRESCHOOL TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys developed for preschool-aged children (ages 3-5)
Design & Drill Brightworks by Educational Insights
Doc McStuffins Pet Vet Checkup Center by Just Play
Guidecraft IO Blocks 114 Piece Set by Guidecraft
Miles from Tomorrowland Stellosphere by Tomy International
PlayTape by InRoad Toys
Razor Jr. Lil’Crazy by Razor USA LLC
Uptown Espresso Kitchen by KidKraft LLC
PROPERTY OF THE YEAR
Property that had the greatest success spreading its brand throughout the industry
Jurassic World (Universal Partnerships & Licensing)
Minions (Universal Partnerships & Licensing)
NERF (Hasbro, Inc.)
Paw Patrol (Spin Master Corp.)
Shopkins (Moose Toys Pty Ltd)
Skylanders SuperChargers (Activision Publishing, Inc.)
Star Wars (Disney/Lucasfilm Licensing)
SPECIALTY TOY OF THE YEAR
Toys primarily distributed through specialty retailers
Boogie Board Play n’ Trace Doodle Pad by Kent Displays, Inc.
Nursery Time Elmo by Gund
Sleepy Seas Sound & Lights Whale by Gund
SpinAgain by Fat Brain Toy Co.
SuperMax the Turtle by Cloud b
Tumble Trax Magnetic Marble Run by Learning Resources
Worry Eaters by The Haywire Group
Shannon Goff was born in Detroit, a trigger for her lifelong interest in the evolution of transportation. Captivated by her grandfather’s 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V, she had considered making the car many times, but shied away due its massive size. “Miles to Empty” brings this longtime dream to reality, a sculpture that is her most ambitious project to date. The work pays homage to her grandfather and hometown while dually reexamining themes inherent to the Motor City like the American obsessions of luxury and convenience.
Goff considers the work a translation and dimensional contour drawing rather than replica, as pieces like the floor of the vehicle are missing from the final work. Although the color also deviates from the original, Goff believes its stark quality fits the feel of the piece. “I had considered making it the color of my grandfather’s, but in the end I decided white was perfect,” said Goff. “It’s forlorn and forgotten, a ghost rider of sorts. It’s about memory and loss and is ultimately a memorial to my grandfather and to the city of Detroit.”
Goff received her BFA from the University of Michigan in 1996 before moving to Kyoto, Japan where she studied ceramics and calligraphy and worked as a woodblock printer. Since receiving her MFA at Cranbook Academy of Art in 2003 she has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Rhode Island School of Design, Cranbook, and currently at Penn State University’s School of Visual Arts where she teaches alongside her husband Tom Lauerman. “Miles to Empty” will be on display at Susanne Hilberry Gallery until November 14. (via designboom)
Would you let your kids draw your tattoos? DavidBeckham did! http://ow.ly/U6Vqq
Reposted from Twitter –FamilyFun magazine
Upscale your Halloween sweets experience this year with Star Wars-themed chocolates. Guaranteed. The force will be with you.
‘Star Wars’-Themed Chocolates Display a Different Dark Side
Reposted from: Forbes/Lifestyle, Kristin Tablang,
Scores of merchandise have inundated the market in anticipation of “The Force Awakens” premiere—from makeup and luxury watches, to miniature droids—but none quite as decadent as Faith and Flower’s newest offering: an off-menu mignardises board featuring an assortment of Star Wars-inspired sweets.
Created by the Los Angeles restaurant’s pastry chef (and diehard Star Wars fan) Josh Graves, the limited-time treats—available through December—lures aficionados to the dark (chocolate) side with delectable truffles modeled on the Death Star, Millennium Falcon, and Darth Vader’s iconic helmet.
The $23 plate—garnished with candied honeycomb, French macarons, and biscotti bits—also showcases a Han Solo (encased in chocolate carbonite) and green lightsaber made of absinthe candy, along with chocolate orbs painted to resemble a galaxy far, far away.
The ‘Star Wars’ sweets take over the restaurant’s mignardises board, typically loaded with biscotti bits, candied nuts, and painted truffles.
Hands down the collection’s most incredible confection is the highly detailed Millennium Falcon, which alone takes 15 to 20 minutes per piece to create. (Developed by Graves with the help of a Hot Wheels toy model, each of the white-chocolate spacecraft’s intricate molds requires 16 hours to handcraft.)
“I told servers if someone seems like a fan of Star Wars, we’ll send it out to them,” Graves told The Hollywood Reporter. So don’t be afraid to dress up like Luke or Leia—or even Chewbacca—if you do decide to go.
Faith and Flower Chocolate Board Star Wars Forbes
All images courtesy of Faith and Flower via Instagram
Darth Vader Sculpture Replaces Soviet Leader Lenin in Ukraine’s Odessa
By Anna Dolgov Oct. 23 2015 13:24 Reposted from: The Moscow Times
A statue of Bolshevik revolutionary Vladimir Lenin in Ukraine’s Odessa has been converted into a monument to Darth Vader — the city’s response to a law requiring the eradication of Communist Party symbols.
The Lenin statue was destined to be dismantled, but instead, Odessa — a Black Sea port city renowned for its cultural diversity and flippant sense of humor — chose to transform the monument, unveiling the new Darth Vader statue Friday, local Dumskaya.net news portal reported.
“The first monument on planet Earth to the Sith Lord, the supreme commander of the Imperial Fleet, Darth Vader, has appeared in Odessa,” Dumskaya.net said in its report.
The Darth Vader likeness, created by renowned Odessa sculptor Alexander Milov, maintains the classic pose struck by Lenin in Soviet-era monuments, with the left hand clenched into a fist and bent at the elbow in front of the chest.
Lenin’s head has been replaced with Darth Vader’s iconic helmet, and the Soviet Union founder’s overcoat has been lengthened to become Darth Vader’s cape.
The monument decorates the yard of a local plant, Pressmash, the site of the original Lenin statue, and its transformation was at the request of plant employees and residents of nearby buildings and a workers’ dormitory, Dumskaya.net reported.
The original plaster sculpture of Lenin had fallen into disrepair after decades of weathering the elements, prompting the sculptor to first fortify the monument with a protective layer. Its new “Darth Vader parts” have been made of a titanium alloy and “attached to the leader of the world proletariat” with a glue used in the space industry, Dumskaya.net reported.
Odessa’s new sculpture has be outfitted with a useful technological feature — a wireless router planted within Darth Vader’s head will provide wireless Internet to passersby, Dumskaya.net reported.
Milov, the sculptor, designed the “Love” art installation that appeared at the Burning Man festival in the U.S. state of Nevada this summer.
You’re in luck…brick pigs really do fly! Starting tomorrow, Friday, October 23rd, you’ll be able to view flying pigs and other unusual Lego creations at the Cincinnati Museum Center’s ART OF THE BRICK exhibit.
The exhibit features more than 100 works by artist Nathan Sawaya. Check out some of his work here…
Reposted from: The Washington Post By Dominic Basulto October 15, 2015
Mattel’s Hello Barbie is an AI-powered toy that’s coming to retailers this holiday season. (Mark Lennihan/AP)
Artificial intelligence, which has already made inroads into fields ranging from medicine to aerospace engineering, could end up on holiday shopping lists this year. That’s because several companies — including toy industry leader Mattel — are planning to roll out an assortment of AI-enabled toys this holiday season for kids as young as age three.
The one toy that everyone’s been talking about, of course, is Mattel’s Hello Barbie, which is powered by a proprietary artificial intelligence platform that was developed by ToyTalk, a San Francisco-based AI company founded by two former Pixar employees. The doll, expected to hit shelves in November, will retail for $74.99.
As the newest iteration of the iconic Barbie toy that’s been around since 1959, the Hello Barbie uses a combination of a microphone to record conversations, WiFi to transfer those conversations to a computer server, voice recognition software to figure out what the child just said, and an algorithm to determine what to say next to the child, who might range in age from 3 to 9. In some cases, the conversations with Hello Barbie can go as deep as 200 exchanges between child and doll.
A child might ask, “Want to play a game?” Hello Barbie then immediately accesses one of 8,000 possible responses to simulate the back-and-forth of a typical children’s conversation. If the question can’t be answered, there’s a “fallback” response that’s perfect for just about any situation – “Really? No way!”
In the world of AI, of course, this conversation between toy and child could be viewed as a sort of daily Turing Test. Unlike the classic Turing Test, however, the kids are not attempting to figure out whether Barbie is human or not – they are simply engaging in a conversation with a make-believe object imbued with consumer-grade AI. To make that possible, the Hello Barbie will remember conversational points from the past — it will remember if a child has brothers or sisters, for example, or when they last played together.
The CogniToys Green Dino, powered by IBM Watson, can engage kids in real conversations. (Courtesy Elemental Path)
Taking a similar tack, the company Elemental Path is planning to roll out in December a $119.99 talking dinosaur for children as young as 5 that’s powered by the cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson. The first set of questions and answers for the CogniToys Green Dino were generated by convening parent focus groups in Brooklyn. However, since the dinosaur is connected to the cognitive computing capabilities of IBM Watson via wireless Internet, it can learn in real-time and get answers to questions that might not have been programmed into the toy from the outset.
In the Kickstarter video for the CogniToys Green Dino, which raised $275,000 from over 2,000 backers, you can see the power of partnering with IBM Watson. A child might ask, “How far is it to the moon?” or “What is the speed of light?” The Watson-powered AI engine processes the question — and here’s the AI parlor trick — adapts the response to the age and development level of the child. Think of the dinosaur as a talking companion for your child – a companion who also happens to have the cognitive ability of a prize-winning Jeopardy! contestant.
While there have been other “smart toys” before — there’s something fundamentally different about the CogniToys Green Dino or the Hello Barbie. Using proprietary AI engines and speech recognition tools, they are able to understand conversations, give intelligent responses and learn on the fly. These AI-powered companions can do more than just answer a series of simple questions with one-off replies, the way one might expect from Siri.
While you can split hairs about whether a real-time response from a plastic toy constitutes “intelligence” (the same debate that takes place every year about the Turing Test), it does seem that something fundamentally new is happening in the AI space. With these cognitive toys, researchers are creating a new category for objects that are less than human but more than machine.
According to MIT’s Sherry Turkle, author of the new book “Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age,” we as a society are experiencing a “robotic moment.” We no longer expect artificially intelligent machines to be fully human — as long as they can compensate in other ways. “It’s not that we have really invented machines that love us or care about us in any way, shape or form,” she says, “but that we are ready to believe that they do. We are ready to play their game.”
AI-enabled toys such as Hello Barbie or the CogniToys Green Dino promise to play that game. And similar types of AI toys could become even more realistic as they go beyond just speech recognition to involve sophisticated sensors capable of understanding specific gestures. In May, for example, Google published a patent for an Internet-connected teddy bear hooked up with sensors, cameras, microphones and a wireless Internet connection. In the patent, Google suggests the robotic teddy bear might be able to control a home environment.
To see how gesture sensing technology might be combined with AI to simulate real-world behaviors, check out the MiPosaur, unveiled by WowWee toys at the beginning of the year. A YouTube video produced for Toy Fair New York in February shows how these robotic dinosaurs can go into “gesture mode” or “leash mode” or “food mode” and respond to the gestures of a human hand or an interactive tracking ball, simulating the types of behaviors that you might expect from a well-trained pet.
Of course, just because these are “toys” doesn’t mean that there aren’t some serious issues to consider. The Hello Barbie toy, for example, has already attracted the negative attention of privacy advocates, who claim that the toy violates the right to privacy for children under the age of 13 (something that ToyTalk and Mattel clearly disagree with). And the Google teddy bear immediately attracted attention from the BBC as a “creepy Internet toy” and comparisons to the “super” teddy bear in “A.I.,” the Steven Spielberg film from 2001.
And that’s not all. As with any object hooked up to the Internet these days, there’s always the chance of getting hacked. Play experts, too, have weighed in, claiming that these “smart toys” may actually be bad for children. They claim that these artificially intelligent toys could reduce imaginative play and even inspire a number of negative behavioral patterns in children.
If AI toys are ever going to catch on, toy companies are clearly going to have to overcome the “creepiness” factor of toys recording and analyzing the conversations of children. These consumer-grade AI toys are not “creepy” because they could destroy the world — as Elon Musk or Stephen Hawking might argue about enterprise-grade AI — but because they have the potential to fundamentally change the nature of how we interact with people and objects around us.
These toys are essentially deconstructing everything that makes humans special — and replacing it with sensors, computer servers, software and algorithms. This holiday shopping season, we might find out what the world’s toughest critics — our kids — have to say about that.
Dominic Basulto is a futurist and blogger based in New York City.
Federal regulators to require registration of recreational drones
This article is reposted from: The Washington Post
Federal regulators said Monday that they will require recreational drone users to register their aircraft with the government for the first time in an attempt to track rogue flying robots that are increasingly posing a threat to aviation safety.
The decision to compel drone owners to register their aircraft represents a policy shift by the Obama administration and a tacit admission by the Federal Aviation Administration that it has been unable to safely integrate the popular remote-controlled planes into the national airspace.
U.S. officials said they still need to sort out the basic details of the registration system — which they hope to set up within two months — but concluded that they had to take swift action to cope with a surge in sales of inexpensive, simple-to-fly drones that are interfering with regular air traffic.
“The signal we’re sending today is that when you’re in the national airspace, it’s a very serious matter,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told reporters.
Pilots of passenger planes and other aircraft are reporting more than 100 sightings or close calls with rogue drones a month, according to the FAA. Such incidents were almost unheard of prior to last year, but have escalated quickly amid a boom in the consumer drone market. American hobbyists are projected to buy about 700,000 drones this year, a 63 percent increase from 2014.
Under FAA guidelines, drone owners are not supposed fly their aircraft above 400 feet or within five miles of an airport without permission. But the rules are widely flouted, and officials have been largely powerless to hunt down offenders.
Requiring drones to be registered will be of limited use for investigators unless the remote-controlled aircraft crash and a registration number can be found. Most drones are too small to appear on radar and do not carry transponders to broadcast their locations.
But regulators hope that forcing owners — many of whom are aviation novices — to register their drones with the government will at least make them think twice about their responsibility to fly safely and the possibility that they could be held accountable for an accident.
As officials envision the system, new drone owners would have to register their purchases online and confirm that they have familiarized themselves with basic guidelines for where drones can fly and under what conditions. “
It’s really hard to follow the rules if you don’t know what the rules are, or if the rules apply to you,” Foxx said.
The FAA and the Transportation Department are setting up a task force composed of government officials and industry representatives to devise the new registration system. Foxx said the group has until Nov. 20 to finalize its recommendations so the government can set up the registry before Christmas — the peak season for drone sales.
Such a timetable amounts to lightning speed for the FAA, which usually labors for years to shape new aviation regulations.
Foxx said the registration rules will also apply to people who have already bought drones in recent years, not just new owners. He said the FAA would impose penalties — which he did not spell out — on anyone who does not comply.
Nobody knows exactly how many of the robotic aircraft are already flying around, but most estimates top 1 million.
The task force will have to wrestle with the basic question of size limits and what kinds of drones will have to be registered. Most consumer models weigh only a few pounds, but many can easily reach altitudes above 1,000 feet.
Some advocates have argued that most drones don’t present any hazards. Rich Hansen, head of government relations for the 180,000-member Academy of Model Aeronautics, said the FAA needed to “strike the right balance” and exempt the smallest classes of drones.
“More of these devices are virtually toys that pose little to no risk and have minimal capabilities,” he said.
In addition to snarling air traffic, nuisance drones across the country have interfered with firefighters, flown into tall buildings and crashed into bystanders on the ground. Criminals have used them to smuggle contraband into prisons. Some property owners have become so irritated by drones buzzing overhead that they have gotten out their shotguns and opened fire.
In general, the drone misadventures have been taking place in a regulatory vacuum. The FAA has banned most businesses from flying drones until it can finalize new safety rules — a step that will take at least another year.
Hobbyists who fly drones for fun are largely unregulated. Under a law passed by Congress in 2012 to protect model-airplane enthusiasts, the FAA is prohibited from imposing new restrictions on recreational drone owners. As a result, they have not been required to obtain pilot licenses or undergo training.
Foxx, however, said the FAA has the authority to require the registration of any aircraft that fly in the national airspace — manned or unmanned. Until now, the agency had been reluctant to take that step, preferring to focus on public-awareness campaigns to educate drone users.
Although Congress carved out protections for hobbyists three years ago, lawmakers have become more alarmed in recent months as reports have mounted of drones buzzing dangerously close to airliners and crashing near sensitive sites such as the White House.
At a hearing on drones last week before a House Transportation Committee panel, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said registration made sense. He recalled an incident in his hometown of Springfield, Ore., when residents reported that a “peeping Tom” drone had been peering in their windows.
“Ultimately, it crashed,” he said. “Well, police have no idea who was operating that thing. We have no way to track it back.”
Although the FAA lacks the authority to require drone hobbyists to obtain pilot licenses or get training, it does have the power to impose civil fines on anyone who recklessly interferes with air traffic or endangers people on the ground.
On Oct. 6, the FAA said it would assess a $1.9 million fine — its largest penalty by far against any drone user — on a Chicago firm, SkyPan International Inc., for allegedly operating dozens of unauthorized drone flights in urban areas.
Craig Whitlock covers the Pentagon and national security. He has reported for The Washington Post since 1998.
Whoa! Harness your extra My Little Pony toys and reign them into some shnazzy shoes.
And from www.heels.com, here’s some footwear with real giddy up.