Child’s Play

Competition Details

Sketch-a-move

by Anab Jain
Co-authors: Louise Klinker

Sketch-a-move is a magical toy car that allows children to explore the unique relationships between small surface doodles and actual physical movements. If a child draws a circle on the top of the toy car, it will move in a circle. If he draws a complicated spiral, the car will move in a spiral. This is a very simple idea, yet it opens up endless play possibilities for interaction, collaboration, and development of creative skills in children.

Aimed Age Group:
A critical part of the early years of child’s cognitive development is in negotiating the physical world. Sketch-a-move, which is aimed at children from the age of four to nine, could potentially play a role in this development in two ways. Firstly, it is exploring the idea of end user programming in a very simple way. Children see the output of a small drawing or a doodle as a physical movement and thus get a sense of feedback. This feedback loop may encourage the child to improvise further, to get desired outputs. Secondly, it encourages the child to build props from everyday objects and construct a make-believe world in relation to the toy’s movement, thus creating new play scenarios, both individually and collaboratively.

Environmental considerations:
In the first iteration of Sketch-a-move, (see video), we have primarily been concerned with the concept and its technical feasibility. In the next iteration we built a working prototype by hacking together existing hardware and reusing material such as an existing toy car and a Nokia tablet. For the final product we aim to use highly recyclable materials such as polycarbonate, use rechargeable batteries, limit the number of different materials used, and produce a toxin-free toy that is easy to take apart at the end of its life.