Magnetic spheres must be really becoming popular. There are at least three brands of them out on the market with Buckyballs, Neocube and Nanodots. I was received a set of Nanodots to play with.
Nanodots look a lot like ball bearings. However, each of the 236 balls are very magnetic. I actually took one dot and had it hold up a piece of paper on the metal side of my cubical; they are that strong. Because of this, you do need to be very careful when playing with these as you could pinch your skin, and these are definitely not something you want to put in your mouth or have accessible to the very smallest of kids. However, when they get older, the kids will have fun playing with these magnets.
Due to their unique properties, it is actually harder than it looks to build structures with these especially building cubes. This is due to the magnetic fields of the balls themselves. I was never able to build a cube like in the top of a Buckyballs box. Hexagons and pentagons and structures based on those are easy to build, and there an almost infinite combinations of those especially when you combine more than one set.
Nanodots comes with the instructions for building the octahedron which is the shape they are initially in when you open the box. This shape looks hard to build, but is actually pretty easy when you break it down to layers. Don’t take it from me on how easy it is to build, just check out the video Szaki made for Nanodots. Note that Szaki is very skilled and can still build it faster than I can build the octahedron in about 10 minutes.
One cool thing about Nanodots is because they stick together, you can also squish them and mold them a bit just like a stress ball. It is very soothing to squish and idly play with the dots when you take a break at work.
When you are done playing with the Nanodots, there is a handy bag for storing them in.
I loved playing with Nanodots and Luke thought they were cool too. Nanodots are a wonderful desktoy for your desk at work, just keep them away from your computer’s hard disk!
Nanodots are available in Original, Black Silver and Gold colors. Original are only $29.99, Black and Silver colors are $34.99 and the Gold colored dots are $39.99. They are available direct from the Nanodots website. Each is a set of 236 dots. That is enough to build the octahedron and have 5 spares.
What I liked: Very fun and addicting to play with. Perfect for those idle moments at work. Just don’t let your boss catch you playing with them!
What Needs Improvement: The only problem I see is there’s only 236 dots in the box. Would be nice to have a bigger set!