Tag Archive for 'toy'

12JanImagine a story. Create a book!

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Orit Zuckerman a good friend of mine from the Media Lab –we worked together on a few cool projects– now opened her company, Tikatok, that allows you (or your child) to create books based on her stories. You can also order the books made by the children in the community. Such a neat idea! Orit regularly organizes contests, so the company is now growing as a community of young writers. Tikatok also welcomes teachers, parents and libraries.

During winter break, Lauren showed me this beautiful video of this cute French girl, Capucine, telling the most creative story (no worries, it is translated in English). Imagine how such a child would do drawing, writing and telling her creations on a real book!

Enjoy watching this ultra cute video:

… you can also help the friends of Capucine in Mongolia design books on Orit’s site …

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

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14OctA toy-cyborg for children!

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“Stelarc Ken” by Zoe Khamsin.
Now children can play with cyborg toys!

Stelarc is a poet and scientist of contemporary times and his body, that he himself defined as ‘obsolete’, and others has defined as ‘posthuman’, is the end of the religious principle of body’s inviolability. Moreover he made a mutual correspondence between his body and his art, and this led to his iconic definition. The artist creation - ‘Stelarc Ken’ - builds upon the idea of iconic individuals being replicated in toy form.

15JulYard sale treasures

This summer is the perfect period for yard sales! I have a few secret collections that are building up! All of them related to my research of course. One of my recent find is this vintage electronic kit for children, “discover the magic and mystery of electronics in minutes”. Working in a group that researches on a seamless and tangible relationship to digital information, I find this child’s game particularly of interest.

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Each block represents an electronic component. As the child assembles the blocks together, the child designs a circuit. All the pieces have a magnet underneath. They can be assembled on a metallic large plate, plate that works as the circuit ground. The game is about electronics, analog electronics, but the iteration process of electronics discovery is “tangible”. The child can relate to the kit like a puzzle and by this is invited to experiment with each piece. Many authors have claimed that the understanding of electronics is hands-on. Making this process connected to the learning of electronic symbols + offering a puzzle based interaction to circuit design is very exciting! Now there is a consequence to the connection of the pieces, where the electronics knowledge starts and the children are empowered in the design, focusing essentially on their component and how they spatially fits. Later on they can move on to working directly with the components …

I have a more recent version of an electronic kit that shows directly the components, not the symbols. The connection is made by inserting wires between each component. I much prefer the puzzle based approach that welcome easy improvisation and experimentation with circuit design.

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

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11JulFilm assembly using toy gestures

July 2008 Picture This! Project by Cati Vaucelle

My full paper Picture This! Film assembly using toy gestures has been accepted as a full paper for the technical conference on ubiquitous computing: UbiComp 2008. With an acceptance rate of less than 19% for technical papers in the field, it is very encouraging!

Abstract

We present Picture This! a new input device embedded in children’s toys for video composition. It consists of a new form of interaction for children’s capturing of storytelling with physical artifacts. It functions as a video and storytelling performance system in that children craft videos with and about character toys as the system analyzes their gestures and play patterns. Children’s favorite props alternate between characters and cameramen in a film. As they play with the toys to act out a story, they conduct film assembly. We position our work as ubiquitous computing that supports children’s tangible interaction with digital materials. During user testing, we observed children ages 4 to 10 playing with Picture This!. We assess to what extent gesture interaction with objects for video editing allows children to explore visual perspectives in storytelling. A new genre of Gesture Object Interfaces as exemplified by Picture This relies on the analysis of gestures coupled with objects to represent bits.

Introduction

We connect to our world using our senses. Every one of our senses is a knowledge shopper that grounds us in our surroundings [1]: with touch, one feels the texture of life, with hearing one perceives even the subtlest murmurs of our existence, with vision one clarifies their instincts. But human senses are not only about perception. We use gesture to apprehend, comprehend and communicate. We speak to ultimately translate and exchange with others. We visualize, record, and playback events using our memory to reflect on our history and to be immersed in experience. We as children and adults are engaged in everyday pretense and symbolic play. We embed and later withdraw from the world, using imagination to project ourselves into situations [35]. Our mental constructs are necessary to reach a deeper understanding of our relationship with our environment [3]. Children are offered stories by adults and are driven into fantasy play. They use toys to externalize and elaborate their mental constructions [8]. With character toys they create interrelationships and plots, a means to expose their social knowledge: knowing about human beings and social relationships [33]. If the toy has an immediately accessible visual perspective, a new world is opened to the child. The toy brings her into exploring visual and narrative perspectives of character props, expanding the discovery of her environment.

We imagine a world in which people play, create and exchange visual narratives with ease and transparency. Motivated by the playful improvisational environment of child storytelling with toys, we have developed a new category of video editing tools progressing towards the child’s natural expression of play. In Picture This! we combine the activity of play with the video making process. Whereas play emphasizes spontaneity and improvisation, video making necessitates structure and composition. We were inspired by the theater play of Goethe’s childhood [35], investigating what technology could add to the narrative and play experience. We use technology to offer visual feedback regarding how the scene looks like from the point of view of an imaginary audience. The child storyteller enters the world of the movie maker. Cameras become part of a toy system showing how things look from a toy’s point of view. They can be integrated in Lego people, car drivers, and even coffee mugs! The video process, supported by gesture induced editing, benefits children in practicing social interrelationships and visual perspective taking.

http://www.architectradure.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/picturethisdiagram1.jpg

More about the system ->here<-

Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

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27MayElectro plushy

ElectroPlushies are a set of anthropomorphic plush electronics components consisting of a switch, battery, resistor, LED, and buzzer. Each component has a personality reflecting their functionality. Each component contains the actual electronics component and can be connected with magnetic snaps at the ends of flexible arm leads. Definitely a toy of the year idea!

Watch the video of the project presentation ->here<-

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Posted by Cati Vaucelle @ Architectradure

consumer, DIY, HCI, interaction design, MIT, technology, hardware, electronics, toy

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