Extreme Toy Travel campaign sees Superman launched up to 39 kilometres in craft packed full of electronics

JAKARTA, Indonesia, Nov. 10, 2014 (ANTARA/PRNewswire) -- RS Components (RS), the trading brand of Electrocomponents plc (LSE:ECM), the global distributor for engineers, has collaborated with Mattel via its electronics engineering DesignSpark community to support the Extreme Toy Travel campaign. RS has teamed up with Rlab, a peer run community hackspace, card modeller Jude Pullen, and high altitude balloonist Dave Akerman, to send Superman to space and back in a custom-built capsule.

Mattel's Extreme Toy Travel takes its Action Figures to exotic and extreme locations all around the world. Inspired by Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking freefall from the edge of space in 2012, Mattel Italy, together with La Scatola dei Giocattoli, a support project for Mattel customers, approached RS to replicate this jump with one of its Superman action figures.

A team of makers, hackers and engineers on the DesignSpark community have designed and built a capsule that is attached to a weather balloon. The craft, packed full of electronics and 3D printed components designed for the mission using DesignSpark software, has travelled to a height of around 39 kilometres at the edge of space, where Superman then freefell back to Earth. The capsule included a Raspberry Pi to capture mission data, as well as a specially designed tracking unit to locate and retrieve Superman.

The launch took place on September 12, in the UK (Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire). During the flight, the mission data (altitude, temperature, weather) was collected along with HD videos and images. Both Superman and the capsule were monitored through a radio connection and a GPS. At the end of the mission, RS posted the video footage and all the design files, bill of materials and design notes on the DesignShare section of DesignSpark under an open source licence so others could build their own. Moreover, Mattel and RS shared with their communities a video to show Superman's flight to space and back: http://www.rs-online.com/designspark/electronics/eng/blog/hack-superman-launch-day

The space capsule weighed about 2.5 Kilos and slowly drifted down on a parachute with low impact. Since temperatures can drop to around -60 degrees Centigrade at high altitudes, and electronics tend to get warm when running, carefully housing them inside the capsule was important. Hence the components and devices were carefully tested beforehand to ensure they were able to withstand the temperatures. The flight usually lasts a few hours, so RS experimented with batteries to ensure they were active throughout the duration of the mission.

"This project is a demonstration of our innovation in engineering design, using our industry-leading design resources, together with products such as the Raspberry Pi and 3D printing, made possible through collaboration with leading engineers and technology experts via DesignSpark," said Pete Wood, DesignSpark Community Manager at RS Components. "It has been a unique experiment as it involved carefully identifying the several challenges associated with High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) and developing a team of engineering experts who came up with the right plan for the capsule."

"I wanted to personally follow the launch of the spaceship with Superman," said Andrea Ziella, Associate Manager Digital Marketing - Mattel South East Europe. "It has been very exciting for me to see the Toy Travel in Space project come to life. The whole experience felt like travelling back in time to when I was a kid and dreamt about going to the moon with ships I had built myself! We are delighted to be partnering with La Scatola dei Giocattoli and RS Components to create this unique journey that demonstrates their innovation and technology expertise."

The Toy Travel project also aims to enrich children's learning experience and inspire their competitive creativity by engaging them to build their own spaceship and posting the design on the La Scatola dei Giocattoli website: http://www.lascatoladeigiocattoli.it/viaggiodeigiocattoli/.

For further information on the project visit Pete Wood's blog at: http://www.rs-online.com/designspark/electronics/eng/blog/hack-superman-to-the-edge-of-space-and-back?/designspark/electronics/blog/hack-superman-to-the-edge-of-space-and-back.

About RS Components

RS Components and Allied Electronics are the trading brands of Electrocomponents plc, the global distributor for engineers. With operations in 32 countries, we offer around 500,000 products through the internet, catalogues and at trade counters to over one million customers, shipping more than 44,000 parcels a day. Our products, sourced from 2,500 leading suppliers, include semiconductors, interconnect, passives and electromechanical, automation and control, electrical, test and measurement, tools and consumables.

Electrocomponents is listed on the London Stock Exchange and in the last financial year ended 31 March 2014 had revenues of GBP1.27bn.

For more information, please visit the website at www.rs-components.com.

About Mattel

The Mattel family of companies (Nasdaq: MAT) is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and family products. Mattel's portfolio of best-selling brands includes Barbie®, the most popular fashion doll ever produced, Hot Wheels®, Monster High®, American Girl®, Thomas & Friends® and Fisher-Price® brands, including Little People® and Power Wheels®, MEGA® Brands, including MEGA BLOKS® and RoseArt®, as well as a wide array of entertainment-inspired toy lines. In 2013, Mattel was named one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies" by Ethisphere Magazine and in 2014 ranked No. 5 on Corporate Responsibility Magazine's "100 Best Corporate Citizens" list. With worldwide headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., Mattel's companies employ nearly 30,000 people in 40 countries and territories and sell products in more than 150 nations. At Mattel, we are Creating the Future of Play. Visit us at www.mattel.com, www.facebook.com/mattel or www.twitter.com/mattel

About La Scatola dei Giocattoli

La Scatola dei Giocattoli is a project born in 2013 with the purpose to give kids, but especially adults, a different point of view on the toy's world.

La Scatola dei Giocattoli is a support for Mattel customers. It offers updated toys catalogues, offering the chance to choose directly from home, in any moment of the day, the best toys, from the newest ones to the classics, and have, even through mobile, access to events, news and support.

Besides from the catalogue, it offers the chance to create Toy Boxes (Scatole dei Giocattoli), personalized lists to associate to a particular event o kid, that can be used in stores as support of the purchase. It also has other sections like "The Toy's Courier", with news and updates, "Toys are in Town", with the latest events around Italy, and "When I was a kid", where you can discover the toys of your childhood.

RS Components
Tan Soo Chun
Public Relations Manager - Asia Pacific
Email: soochun.tan@rs-components.com
Telephone: +65-6391-5745

Edelman Public Relations (Singapore)
Yvette Yeo
Email: yvette.yeo@edelman.com
Telephone: +65-6347-2355

Further information is available via these links:

@RSElectronics; @alliedelec; @designsparkRS

RS Components on Linkedin

RS Components on Weibo

Relevant Links:

Electrocomponents plc

RS Components


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