Watching a professional artist use this children's toy was mesmerising, but it's harder than it looks

Winding around the enormous showroom floor at the Consumer Electronics Conference in Las Vegas, it’s easy to accrue some unrealistic expectations about using certain kinds of tech. 

No, flying that tiny drone through an obstacle course isn’t as easy as it looks. And you’ll probably never look even a sliver as cool as this woman if you invested in a hoverboard:


I was particularly struck by the gap between expectations created by presenters and the probable reality when I came upon a booth where an artist named Adrian Amjadi slowly constructed a gorgeous fluorescent jellyfish with a 3D drawing product called AtmosFlare.

AtmosFlare uses a colourful, fast-drying gel to let users construct little sculptures. 

A metalsmith himself, Amjadi told me that AtmosFlare targeted its soon-to-be released pen to kids in their early teens. 

Here are some of his other creations:

After gazing, mesmerised, for several minutes watching him work, I wanted to get my hands on a pen pen. Having taken a sculpture class in college, I figured I could try to set the foundation for a small tree, similar to this one:

But several minutes of trying to wield the pen, I quickly realised that the AtmosFlare was way tougher to use than it looked when Amjadi gracefully spun out tentacles:

A crafting review I found later online confirmed my own feelings: Although AtmosFlare’s marketing materials display striking little masterpieces, the average kid will struggle.  

It’s still fun to see it in action, though! 



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