By Shyamal Bhat
Educational Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering from Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering(SJCE), Mysore, 2011.
My Idea About Toy Design Work Experience:
6 months in Snap Networks Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. (www.violet3d.com), till March 2012.
Interests: • Sketching- Passionate about sketching from a very young age, started with doodling cars and later on extending to products like stereo systems, handheld devices etc. • Art Films- Multi lingual Indian and foreign films, mainly non commercial films including documentaries. Member of Suchitra Film Society, Bangalore. • Music- Multi genre Indie artists, passionate about the sound of different instruments and their fusion.
Children often crave for toys when they see it in a shop or a super market. However, the time spent on those toys are relatively less a couple of days after they are bought. One reason is that they could soon become bored with that particular toy. If toys are designed such that they become part of their everyday routine more than just their plaything, kids can develop a sense of belonging to a toy more effectively. This has to be done with no sacrifice on the features and attractive playful character of the toys. This philosophy has been emphasized in my portfolio.
Research and Market Study
In design, it’s always important to connect to one’s roots. A good understanding on the design of regional products, in this case toys, helps in inspiring concepts that has a local touch to it. Channapatna, a town situated 60km away from Bangalore, is famous for its wooden toys and lacquerware. It is often referred as ‘Gombegalaooru’ or toy town of Karnataka. I visited there to understand more about the wooden toys - how they are made along with the study of materials, finishing and marketing involved. They are manufactured by turning process; vegetable dyes are used for coloring and dry blade of grass for finishing. Rubber Wood is the main material and chosen for its bright color which is ideal for toys. Free of any chemicals, these wooden toys and dolls are safe, organic and environmental friendly. The beauty of these small toys are mainly due to the craftsmanship of the artisans, than the manufacturing process. What is impressive is that the coloring and finishing are done in successive stages by the same person, without any change in tooling. Color is imparted to the wood by the heat due to friction of contact between the sticky dye material and turning piece of wood.
It is an NGO, based in Channapatna, that helps microentrepreneurs build a network of sustainable enterprises. The quality of toys found here are impeccable. They are mainly exported to Europe and this organization serves as a reminder to us of the quality of Indian toys available in the International market, much more superior than that available for Indian market itself. As part of the mission, this NGO provides employment to only women, empowering their lives. Tuttu Turtle, pictured on top-right, is the trademark toy and produced the most in numbers by Maya Organic. It is a unique wooden pull toy, generally for children above 18months. What is remarkable about this toy is that it uses a simple mechanism of rotating the red ball because of its contact with the four wheels during movement, leading to a visually appealing product.
Sprinkling Water Tub Children, strangely, have a unique mentality. They love to play with water but often hesitate when it comes to bath. Itâ€™s a common sight of babies, below one year, crying when their mother drags them for bath! So if we can add certain features to a common bathtub , children or babies wouldnâ€™t find it hard to come for the bath. A look into the existing bath tubs indicate that they have kept provisions in the tubs for the kids to keep their toys and stay close to it even during bathing. As babies like water being sprinkled at them, the idea is to have a tub where they can sprinkle water at themselves. They tend to relate this to part of their everyday play.
Apart from various attractive colors, this bath tub has to be available with faces of different animals so that the parents can choose which animal their child is most likely to get attracted to.
The sprinkling mechanism has to be placed on the backside of the neck of the animal so that it provides the necessary elevation for the water to fall on, preferably, babyâ€™s face when seated in the tub. A small bucketful of water to be poured to ensure there is sufficient water.
2D Puzzle Ball
This game is popular among kids and helps in improving concentration. Itâ€™s the type of game which, once started, keeps the child gripped until he or she has put all the balls into the centre circle. The image shows a puzzle made of Teak wood. However, once the child has managed to complete the game, the interest level considerably goes down. This is mainly because the child has understood that he or she is capable of completing the game and a slightly tougher level is required to keep them involved further. Moreover, children love games, especially video games, when it is split up into different levels and this adds to the thrill of achievement on completing each level. So the idea is to create successive levels in this game using the same material, possibly exploring it in two dimensions.
During the ideation phase, I was thinking why canâ€™t it be like a handheld gaming console? Non-digital gaming consoles like these rarely exists. The shape of path has to be carved such that the ball does not come out of it.
The modeling was done in Solidworks 2010. Since it can be made from teak wood, the aesthetics can be more natural as it looks like it has been carved out of a small branch of a tree. The initial idea was to make all the balls roll into the centre circle hole (Level1 ; pictured in the centre facing towards the viewer) and to the outer circle at the right side (Level2) and similarly to Level3 on the opposite side. If connecting the holes inside the wooden piece is a problem, the solution is to use separate steel balls for each level.
The difficulty of each level can be increased by changing the design of the path and adding more number of balls in successive levels. 5
Jigsaw Puzzle: Car Brands and their Logos
Children, mainly boys, are very enthusiastic about cars. They start playing with toy cars from a very young age and when they reach around 5-6 yrs, they start recognizing cars on the street with their names, generally with brand names. I have often found my nephews asking me the name of the cars they found on the street. They seemed to be very keen in collecting such information and remembering it. A simple jigsaw puzzle for such children will be a good idea. Itâ€™s all about joining just two cards: One piece containing car brand logo and the other piece containing the name of the brand. Like most of the jigsaw puzzles, this can be made of cardboard. The puzzles can deal from very simple recognizable brand logos like Mercedes Benz to tougher ones like Maserati of Italy.
CD Player for Kids
A simple CD player with minimum number of controls. PLAY button and controls for going to the NEXT and PREVIOUS tracks are provided on the nose of the doll. Speakers are fitted on the round ears for visual appeal.
Walk In The Park: Dice Game
When the world has become environment conscious and designs focusing on sustainability, itâ€™s important to educate children what materials are good and bad for environment. The main aim of this fun game is to create awareness among children about the different kinds of environmental hazards. This resembles, more or less, a board game played with dice. The difference is that the number, generally marked in the squares, is replaced by the name of different materials- either Biodegradable or Non-Biodegradable. Designed for 2 or more players, the game starts from each of the two gates. Only when the dice rolled gives a number corresponding to a Biodegradable material, the player can move forward.
The squares are designed such that the color of it gives a slight indication of whether a material is Biodegradable or not. When children play this game for few times, the knowledge of these materials automatically get stored in their brain. To add to the drama of the game, in case the dice points to number corresponding to the black square on the board, he/she has to go back to the gate from he/she started. The black square is named after a material poisonous to nature.
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Family Tree Kit
Generally in big joint families, the children at the age of ten wouldnâ€™t know how certain individuals within the family circle are related, especially when it comes to their parentsâ€™ cousins. But this is the right age when children would understand clearly the relations when explained. To make things easier for them, a family tree kit is an interactive puzzle which they can arrange and stick it on their wall. Basically it consists of lightweight wooden blocks, where the child can stick the photo of his/her relative and write their name and how they are related to him/her. They can, then, place it on the sticky paper to the wall with the help of thin wooden sticks to mark the branches of the family tree.
Outside Toy Design: Doodles
Some of the subwoofer concepts were done for Snap Networks Pvt Ltd.
Prototypes & Models
Vent design prototype of Soundbar concept for Snap Networks. It was created along with Audio Acoustic Research Engineer, while exploring and experimenting with different vent designs and its subsequent sound response. Material used was Plaster of Paris for the opening of PVC pipe.
Design and fabrication of Brake Dynamometer for determining the performance of brake liners, done as part of 8th semester project of Mechanical Engineering.