Stardust and You Toy Prototype

    Stardust and You Toy Prototype

    Stardust and you You, Toy Prototype, LA NPDT

    Stardust
    and You


    CLIENT

    Carol Gamble, serial entrepreneur, product developer, founder of the Little Partners, inventor of the Learning Tower. Carol wrote a children’s book “Stardust and You” about how the Universe was formed.

    She approached our team with the idea of developing a platform and a set of interactive items that would be used as a book expansion that would make reading the book a more engaging and immersive experience for kids.

    Carol wanted kids to be able to walk through the spiral of time as they unveil each step of the Universe creation, one page at a time.

    Stardust and you You, Toy Prototype, LA NPDT


    CHALLENGE

    Stardust and you You, Toy Prototype, LA NPDT

    In a few words, this project was an example of a collaboration between art and science.

    We needed to design and prototype a massive platform (6.5′ in diameter) that would be able to withstand the weight of kids and adults walking on it. In addition to having the structural strength, the toy prototype needed to match the illustrations in the book.

    Moreover, we needed to design and develop a set of interactive toys that would be used with the platform. They needed to be durable, attractive, and fun to play with.


    SOLUTION

    We started by designing the concept of the platform. Initially, we wanted to make it a flat circle or line. However, we realized that the size would be too large. Moreover, a flat platform would not convey the idea of the book completely.

    We needed to show the evolution, the progress, the spiral of time. So, we came up with the idea of making a 3D spiral. A child would start at the beginning of the spiral on the ground level and would walk around and upwards as he or she goes through the book chapters. At each stage of the path, we put an interactive toy that represented a chapter in the book or a stage in the Universe’s evolution.

    We made the prototype toys connect with the platform using the magnets. Some toys, like the atoms, were placed into cavities inside the platform. After completing the graphic design, we created 3D CAD models of all the objects. It was decided to split the platform into 35 pieces for ease of 3D printing, assembly, packaging, and transportation. Still, it took 2-5 days to 3D print each piece.

    In parallel with printing the base, we were also making the toys. It took about two months to get everything 3D printed and assembled.
    Once the platform and the toys were built, it was time for our artists to paint them. They worked hard on replicating the book illustrator’s style so that the appearance of the items would match that of the book. In fact, the first attempt was a failure.

    Upon completion of the first paint job, the customer commented that the result looked too bright and noisy. We had to start over. Working with the customer step-by-step, we got the artwork on point in the second attempt.

    THE RESULT

    Thanks to our multi-disciplinary and collaborative team, we were able to create this work-of-art toy prototype.

    However, it was due to the science of CAD and 3D printing that this entertaining and educating product became possible. The design and the full-scale prototype that we created allowed the customer to present the product to potential customers and users.

    She was able to validate her idea and figure out the pros and cons before going to mass production. The addition of the base, and the toys, turned a book into an interactive educational system for kids.


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