"Areaware" is a New York based design company. They produce unusual takes on everyday objects using many of the most up and coming designers around. David Weeks is responsible for the "Cubebot."
It is a wooden toy robot that comes packaged as a cube, measuring approximately 2.5 inches on each side. The robot is constructed of Cherry Wood, with all of the movable parts attached by strong elastic bands. When the cube is expanded by moving the various body parts, the result is a robot that stands 6.75 inches high with an arm span of 9.25 inches. This is the size of the basic "Cubebot," and the size does vary slightly depending on the model.
The "Cubebot" was actually fashioned after the popular Japanese Shinto Kumiki puzzles. In Japanese, the word Kumiki means "to join wood together." Continuing in that Kumiki tradition, the "Cubebot" is of such high quality that it is virtually unbreakable.
Once the robot is in play mode, he can be posed in various ways by moving his legs, arms and head. If you want to return the "Cubebot" back into its original cube, that can also be done. However, it does take a bit of time to figure out how to twist and shape the robot back into a cube. But that is meant to be part of the fun.
We had three different versions of the "Cubebot" available to us. Each had a little different appearance, and varied only slightly in size. We decided to show this product to a group of youngsters in the age range of 8-10 years old. We did this in an after school setting at a local elementary school and assembled a group of 4 boys and 2 girls. We set aside only 30 minutes or so, and placed each of the three "Cubebots" on a large craft table. We gave a brief explanation about the product, and then ask they take turns giving each "Cubebot" a good workout.
The kids did not disappoint as they twisted, turned and spun the various body parts around, until the full size "Cubebot" was ready for play. Despite the strenuous testing done by the kids, the "Cubebots" received no damage of any kind, confirming their durability. When there was only about 15 minutes left in our allotted time, we ask that they try to return the "Cubebot" back to its original cube shape. No one could do it, although one little boy got very close. We told them that it takes most adults more than 15 minutes to figure it out, especially the first time or two. The kids seemed to really enjoy the flexibility of the "Cubebot," thanks in part to the elastic bands allowing multiple shaping options. Both the kids and their parents were very impressed with the "Cubebot."