In what is clearly an attempt to make the dreidel the must-have toy during the holidays again, researchers at Tokyo's University of Electro-Communications have enhanced the spinning top with force feedback, interactive elements, and the ability to give it a speed boost while it's still spinning.
A handheld controller containing a fast-switching electromagnet can spin the tops without having to come in contact with them, while also providing the user with force feedback whenever their top collides with another. The tops spin on a special video table that can not only track their location and provide interactive elements like explosion animations and sounds, but using a high-speed camera and the polarized light they emit, each top's RPM can also be calculated and displayed. While the technology seems like it was developed for novelty purposes, the advanced level of interaction between the table and the moving tops could be used to improve the interactive capabilities of products like Microsoft's Surface. Or just bring one aspect of Hanukkah into the 21st century. [DigInfo via Ubergizmo]