CreatorBox is a 2014 TechStars Kaplan EdTech company offering innovative building projects that inspire kids to build, play, learn, and develop a creator’s mindset.
Each month, a subscriber receives a new build-able toy kit complete with an instruction booklet. Kids learn valuable STEM skills as they build their toy. The instructions mention key educational concepts (like physics and electricity) without interfering with the fun of the build. Each toy is meant to be played with after it is complete, and kids are “challenged” with enhancements they can build on their own to make the toy even better. Creator Box won a coveted Best In Class design award from Maker Faire and the 2015 KAPi (Kids at Play) award for Best Maker Maker.
Designing for CreatorBox:
At CreatorBox, I worked on a team of three designers who were committed to delivering experiences that set kids up for success. We focused on encouraging problem solving, critical thinking, and experimentation while making the build easy and fun!
It was important that our kits could be built with as little parental help as possible, but were great conversation starters about how the toy works. This meant designing simple to assemble pieces while leaving room for tinkering and experimentation. Of course, the most critical design goal was that the finished toy had to be FUN to play with!
We used Adobe Illustrator and local laser-cutting manufacturers to put this startup’s initial line into production.
Greeting card kits that establish paper electronics as a crafting staple.
Creators learn about simple electronics and paper engineering by building their own light-up pop-up greeting cards. By providing pre-cut paper shapes and electronic components, the building process is a rewarding educational experience, and creators finish with a project they are proud to give to someone they love.
The Building Experience:
Pre-cut paper shapes and electronic components make getting started easy:
Online instructions show detailed photo illustrations, tips, and explanations.
As a kid, I loved building craft kits- so when I was introduced to paper circuits in grad school, I couldn’t wait to share what I learned with others. Paper engineering and paper circuits can be hard to get right the first time, so the goal of Circuit Sentiments is to make the experience easy- and of course, FUN!
Place a Done Button near a task you do in the real world like exercising, feeding the dog, brushing your teeth or watering a plant. When you do it, simply hit the button to catalog your action.If you’ve been good, the button will glow green, but if you’ve missed your goal, it will glow yellow, then red.
Use the app to configure and learn more about your habits.
The Done Button takes advantage of muscle memory habits, creating a user experience that is almost subconscious. It has been suggested that it could be great for busy adults, kids, or even those suffering from Alzheimer’s or memory loss.
~ MAKING THE DONE BUTTON ~
Below is a summary of the process of creating The Done Button. I also blogged about my experience.
Pressure sensors feel for taps and send that info to the computer.
Music software like Garageband recognizes it as an instrument.
(Someday I hope to re-assemble the TuneTaps components to make a totally rocking video!)
~ MAKING TUNE TAPS ~
Mike and I are both dancers, and we found that we had the same dream: to make music with our feet. Using sensors that communicate with the computer, we can choose any software instrument to make our sounds! The project was a wonderful exploration of wireless technology – we moved from a wired prototype to bluetooth to Xbee radios.
Below is a summary of our process. We also blogged about our experience.
Explore evolution from nothing to infinite imagination.
I am always thinking about the universe – how it came to be and the power that it holds. I combined my love for working with paper with my newfound skill of basic circuitry to design this light-up pop-up book. I wrote a poem to express my thoughts and illustrated each page with an illuminated paper sculpture.
Please click through the book and gallery at the top of this page, or:
~ MAKING “EVERYTHING”~
Below is a summary of my design process. I also blogged about my experience.
Happy Pet is a communication system for a caged animal and a busy human. The system tracks the humans care taking behaviors and personifies the animal’s emotional state as the quality of care changes.
Place the Happy Pet tracker near a pet’s cage, then press the button when you complete a care-taking task.
The system tracks food, water, playing, and cleaning, then personifies the animal’s emotions on a website based on the care he receives.
Unlike calorie and chore tracking apps, Happy Pet can be updated with the simple press of a button, and only when near the pets cage. The user gains a sense of accomplishment by pressing the buttons and positive reinforcement by seeing their pet smile. The caged pet gains the opportunity to reach out and ask for the things that he needs.
Click on the crab below, then use your number keys to care for him.
Color Play fosters synesthesia by
translating color to sound.
Arrange the colored wedges to create a tune.
Turn the knob to spin the disk.
Color is sensed and translated to musical pitch.
~ MAKING COLORPLAY ~
Louise and I set out to explore the relationship between color and sound, and make something that would spark the same curiosity in others. After much research, we chose to map the 8 colors of the spectrum with the 8 notes of the major C scale. We decided to create a record player-like toy that would allow a user to compose sound by rearranging colored wedges. With extended play, the user begins to internalize this relationship and may experience mild synesthesia.
Below is a summary of the process of creating ColorPlay. We also blogged about our experience.