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ABC Toy Dolly

A Modular Physical Toy + App

Team Class Project // Product Design // UI Design // Physical Prototyping // Figma

Project Brief

ABC Toy Dolly is a modular toy dolly based on children’s toy dollies and furniture dollies that encourages creativity and collaboration in group games.

With embedded sensors, LED Lights, magnetic connectors and an accompanying app, ABC Toy Dolly can provide a wide range of games and help reimagine the definition of play.

Final Product

With embedded sensors, LED Lights, magnetic connectors and an companion app, ABC Toy Dolly can provide a wide range of games and help reimagine the definition of PLAY.

Users can select games and configurate their dollies accordingly in the ABC Toy Dolly Companion app.

The app sends configuration signals to each dolly and the LED light strips attached to the bottom of each dolly lights up once connection is complete.

App Interface

I was inspired by toy dollies that we played with in gym class back in elementary. As a kid, I enjoyed the aspect of both control and lack of control the dollies had, and wanted to improve the experience for kids using them.

For my version of the toy dolly, I want to improve its interactiveness and creativity.

My design goals for this project are:

Reconstruct the nostalgic childhood toy

Improve connectivity between the dollies

Explore more gaming interaction possibilities

Inspire kids to create their own ways of playing

User Research

To collect ideas and game references that I could draw inspirations from, I sent out questionnaires on people’s best loved childhood field games. I also spoke with a few subjects that had different levels of enthusiasm for play during their childhood days and noticed strong preferences for chasing-heavy games and all variations of “tag”.

How many people were in your play group?

What were your favorite childhood field games?

What do people have to say about “Tag”?

I played all kinds of “Tag” that I even started inventing my own version of “Tag” because that was just how much I loved it.

All I did as a kid on the playground was really hunting people down in tag and making sure I tagged every single kid possible.

Shadow Tag was like the only game that could get me moving on my feet in kindergarten, and maybe “Duck, Duck, Goose”. too.

User Research

From my personal experiences, I remember that we children really like to try to link up the dollies to play as a group and play collaborative games. So experimenting with different shape combinations was another focus during the early phase.

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I also want to make an app along with my version of dolly that allows people to try out different game modes and choices with one tap.

Explore games in the app

Enter number of dollies

Pick the “it” player

Configure dollies

View game stats

After experimenting with the shape of dollies, I found that rectangle is the optimal shape because it has the highest modularity and can make the most configurations.

Production Process

Then I built 3D models of the dolly and finalize the size and details such as rounded corners, and handle placement.

My team purchased 4 sheets of wood boards altogether so that we could make 4 dollies to demonstrate the modularity that I wanted to highlight in my design. We used a CNC machine to cut and carve out the boards of our dolly.

Step 1 - Sanding & Gluing

I used wood glue to assemble the pieces together, sanded down the sharp edges and applied wood stain on the surface of these boards

Step 2 - Arduino

This board has magnetic hall effect sensors that trigger when the boards connect. This signals the lights to switch depending on the chosen game mode. My teammate programmed Bluefruit M0 Feather board to control everything as well as link to the app via Bluetooth.

The Feather board was inserted into a breadboard that holds all the wiring from the sensors and the lighting.

Step 3 - Assembly & Painting

Putting on wheels

Installing connection sensors

Packing electronics on the back

Painting dollies

Testing dollies

Painting dollies

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