Child’s Play

Competition Details

UNI-Struct: Universal space creation system

by Scott Smith

When you’re young, everything is also something else. An ordinary stone could be currency in your made up world, or a teepee made from moss may well be ‘home base’ for your action figures. Children have it best at this stage in life and this design is for them. The UNI-struct system is a nearly limitless space creation toy geared toward imaginative five to eight year-olds. It allows children to construct play areas of their own design, whether it be large-scale (e.g. a playhouse) or small (e.g. a mountainous environment for G.I. Joe ™) and build their minds and creativity in the process.
Three building bars, each with a different length and curvature, and a soft plush-covered weighted base, comprise the main components that supply the lightweight structure to their space. Each bar contains an ultra-strong neodymium magnet at one end which can connect to either end of another. The end of a bar without a magnet is designed to combine with others through friction when a magnet is not present, making every attachment truly universal and the need for specialized connectors obsolete. Bars are durable and have wide, soft rounded ends for safety. Options increase as a range of different fabrics provides customizable coverings for their creations. Supplied fabric swatches, including black spandex (e.g. for caves, darkness), and white twill can be drawn on with fabric markers and machine washed after use. Fabric is secured to the bars by magnetic ‘pebbles.’
The white segments of the bars are constructed of 100% recycled milk jugs (HDPE), and although they have a thin steel core, conventional recycling methods separate the two easily. When the bars are heated to a certain temperature, the triangular securing piece near each end melts, causing the other parts to disassemble themselves into reusable, virgin materials.