INVENTING MADE EASY.
This paused product line teaches kids how to invent by giving them a foundation in mechanical, electrical, and software prototyping. First, kids build everyday objects. They learn how the device works. They learn to ask what are the key components? Next, the experiences asks them to take all the components and make a new device. What is working? What is not? Finally, we teach them how to connect the devices through an app.
Learning how to bring IOT devices to LIFE through building & coding.
Kids go under the hood of smart devices. They learn quickly that the magic lies in how you build the device & code the electronics.
Kids learn how to fully automate their rooms. There are exponential possibilities to invent when you are taught how to code a smart app. It just requires a little imagination.
Primitive forms make complex or“transformer-esque” creations. The modular library puts personality development into the hands of the kids with easy to use puzzle-like connections, no tolerance dependent fits, & 360 xyz axis building planes. When we paused the project, I was just beginning to explore intuitive wire routes and electronic attachments.
Physical & digital modules operate input. Physical and digital output is experienced in real time. As the light dims in the real world, the light dims in the software world. This creates a seamless feedback loop to keep kids engaged and contextualize the electronic exchanges in both the physical and digital world.
Connect the micro-controller to a computing device & then launch the software to learn how to code electronic components. Once coding lessons are complete, the user can connect the Bluetooth modules, Pucks, to create smart devices and a smart room.
The UX flow between IRL & Digital.
Next launch the app and begin learning challenges. Each level teaches an user about a new sensor or actuator. The simulation or activation of the electrical component is live, both physically and digitally, ensuring a seamless feedback look.
Then code the electronic components with the Blockly-based IDE.
Experiment digitally with the form factor in the CAD feature of the app to modify the device's shell.
Continue digitally experimenting by combining different code & pucks to the build. Advance users can invent a new device with custom code written from scratch. Once the design is complete, build in the real world.
Advance users can experiment by combining different devices and connect them in a digital IOT room. Once the system is complete, build in the real world.
For this project, I directed a team of hardware integration specialists & software engineers.
The electronic, kid consumer market in 2018 was made up of toys and non-essential, everyday use type products. Being a small, relatively unknown company at the time, I saw designing for this gap, as a way to carve out our own space to own. Most products additionally, had a max $150 starter kit price. Therefore, this line must match if not hit below that mark.
With the brand being education focused, the product experiences need to equally appeal to parents and kids.
Most computer science kits available for this demographic were robotic lines & did not involve any customization. Electronic experiences that encourage modification for the individual's particular taste, was an untouched feature found in this segment of the market.
My research revealed an opportunity space in "build-your-own" consumer electronics with materials not seen in the market: wood, 1-1 wiring connections, and modular library that easily allows the ecosystem to grow.
CONCEPT ROUND ONE.
First I asked WHAT do kids want to build? They were interested in highly interactive devices. But the real magic for the kids was when the objects were connected in a circuit. They wanted connected, premium trophies that they can use everyday in their rooms.
CONCEPT ROUND TWO.
Next I asked HOW do kids want to build? Kids needed simplified forms to be prototype ready. With primitives forms, kids could easily build and place electronics on the device without worrying about the final result. If the forms were too polished, kids did not want take the build apart to continue exploring.
Last question unanswered before project pausing is to ask WHY are kids making this build? Kids want to solve problems. So what will be the real-world problems? Kids will be most successful discovering these challenges through the narrative-based software.
WHY also references ownership. So I will need to determine the standard of invention. What is the basic experience? And what customization pieces must be designed to achieve the trophy build?