It was 1995 when Toy Story, one of the most iconic cartoons in the entire history of animated cinema, was released in theaters, with its fantastic story of a reality where toys have a life of their own, feelings and goals to achieve. You will surely remember (and if you don’t, you can re-watch the movie…I suppose you have seen it at least once) that the main antagonist of the story was a child with unkind ways, the Skinhead look and a black t-shirt with a prominent skull: Sid. This character, even with his ‘bad’ label, has always fascinated me for his maker side; in fact, his greatest occupation was that of destroying toys (often his sister’s) to create new ones by assembling parts without apparent logic, but with surprising results. So, I believe that behind Toy Rescue there is a grown Sid who understood his mistakes of youth and tried to direct his skills towards a noble purpose; Seriously, the idea of an online database of spare parts for broken toys is as simple as it is innovative and for this we have to tell you about it.
The complexity of the modern world is clear for everyone, it often displaces us, catches us unprepared and puts us in front of topics or scenarios that we don’t know how to deal with. Issues such as discrimination, marginalization, cyberbullying are on the agenda in newspapers and too frequently the protagonists of these events are the youngest because they’re fragile or naive. To counter these phenomena, Webecome was born, a service to prevent social unrest in primary school promoted by Intesa San Paolo.
One of the most common wishes in the hearts of toy designers is to create a toy that can entertain all the children in the world, or at least as many as possible. However, we know that it is not an easy challenge, not by chance designers tend to design for the average user in order to satisfy the greatest number of people…the others will adapt! But when we talk about group games, there is no worse thing than exclude someone from participating from the beginning; and if we put ourselves in the shoes of a blind or with any motor disability child this situation could happen often. But playing together becomes possible thanks to inclusive design, and this is proved by the two projects showed in this article.
As a designer I feel a sense of slight satisfaction in seeing beautiful products; if I then discover that they are not only beautiful to look at, but also easy and fun to use, well designed in all their parts, this satisfaction grows with the desire to share my reflections about it. This brief digression is to explain my state of mind when I discovered Yoto, an audio player designed for children…actually calling it audio player is a bit resizing, but let’s go one step at a time!
Artificial Intelligence is making giant strides and it begins to be perceived naturally also in the market of educational toys. If few months ago we talked about more or less static robots, and the discussion that ignited the most careful parents was about the amount of data that a voice assistant could steal from an unwitting child, well today we introduce you to Moxie; in addition to being the latest news in the field of AI for children, it is also proof that design serving artificial intelligence for kids can open new roads for interaction with robots.
If you believe that there’s no more room for news in the educational field, if when you think about innovation you only consider Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence and if you divide the child’s emotions into extreme happiness and hysterical crying, well after this article you’ll need to change your mind. In our relentless hunt for stimulating projects, we came across QUID+, a young Italian editorial company that represents an important innovation for the education of children and parents.
If you have always dreamed of sleep like a baby in adulthood, just know that, according to the Italian Society of Pediatrics, 25% of children under 5 years of age suffer from sleep disorders and after 6 this percentage drops around at 10-12%. These data leave little space for interpretation and tell of a widespread problem that affects first and foremost the development of children. These are some of the reasons behind the design of a sleep trainer for children.
“Children are capable of healing themselves, they just need the right conditions for it”. Today we start from this quote to tell you about a new project, a set of six wooden dolls for play therapy, winner of the last Kids Design Award in Cologne.
If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that the ‘child-friendly coding‘ is an hot-topic for us (if you have not read the past articles on the subject, you can retrieve here or here); our attention comes both from the boom of products that have populated the toy market and from the great educational potential of these games. In this article we present Robo Wunderkind, an easy-to-build robot that has just successfully completed a second campaign on Kickstarter.
The designer’s job has radically changed in recent decades, it continues to evolve and receive interesting stimuli and facing challenges of global impact; we are not telling you anything new but it is good to stop sometimes and think about how our profession is closely linked to a social context and observe how it influences and is influenced by technological and human progress. I have recently made these thoughts when I discovered and deepened the project ‘Design for Children’s right guide’, or the guide to design with respect for children’s rights and to act at the core of the creative process.