Have you ever wanted to warn the driver in the next lane that his headlights are off (or something else is out of whack)? Sababa Toys (ToyDirectory) has just the gadget. The company´s Lumi Pad allows people to jot messages and flash quick illustrations on an electronic pad.
This next step in instant messaging is available in screen sizes of 7" ($24.95), 10" ($39.95), 14" ($79.95), and 20" ($139.95, due out in late July) and was a hit at the 2004 Toy Fair. Each pad uses colored markers (available in packs of three and five), which contain special ink that lights up when the electronic tablet is switched on. Three modes produce blinking or panel-by-panel effects with a background melody. The 7" and 10" Lumi Pads require 4 AAA batteries and come with a single blue marker and eraser cloth. The larger screens offer more flashing modes and are equipped with an AC adapter and 4 colored markers.
The Lumi Pad is in many ways a serious communications tool, but it can also be frivolous and amusing. A. Stone Newman, Sababa´s cofounder, says, "I´ve known kids to use the Lumi Pad for chatting with best friends between bunks at summer camps after lights out without waking counselors. Parents sometimes leave a blinking ´You´re Busted´ message for their curfew-breaking teens,” he says. “Teens send messages to their favorite celebrities from the street outside MTV´s popular ´TRL´ show."
Sababa Toys recommends the Lumi Pads for ages 15 and up. Smaller children might experiment with non-erasable markers with permanent results or create a major cleanup task for their parents. Mr. Newman insists, "The Lumi Pad is the best way for trend-conscious teens to take notes, create, doodle or write a memo."
Tony Maddela is a Grant Writer/Development Officer for Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. His wife is Susan, who also writes for TDmonthly.com, and they have a playful, clever daughter named Charlotte and Baby No. 2 due later this summer. He is working on another novel and is represented by the Wales Literary Agency in Seattle. Read more articles by this author