::::::::::::::::   Anne Hong    
::::::::::::::::   NYU | Tisch School | ITP    
::::::::::::::::   MPS Candidate-2007  
::::::::::::::::   studio@annehong.com  
::::::::::::::::   Toy Design Workshop  
     
       

Final Prototype of Friendship Bracelets and Security Box




patent pending 2006


Key Words

toys, design, physical computing, RF Link, telepathy, secret, communication, fun, universal sisterhood, twins, friendship, bracelet, toy design, human, superhero, powers, wearable technology, wearable computing

 




Description

They are Friendship Bracelets that allow kids to covertly communicate with each other, and they have a Security Box that they share, which is accessed only by the bracelets. "Sasu" bracelets investigate twins telepathically communicating to each other. There are four modes. The first mode represents your "twin" or friend powering you up, which requires a physical gesture. Over time it fades, so that you must come in contact with your friend. The second mode conveys an emotion. You may send an emotion to your friend, and there are four settings: urgency, warmth, etc. The third mode allows the user to send a gift of beauty. There are set patterns that she may choose to send to a close friend. We will expand this mode to an application that would require the user to learn a bit of "code" to send a customized design. The last mode allows the bracelets to access a secret box both users can use. When one user of the bracelet wants access, the box deactivates, but also tells this user who last accessed the box.

Personal Statement

I remember as a kid that I was always fascinated with twin telepathy. I wanted to create toys that are "aspirational playing on fantasy," and help any kid become there favorite hero.

What girl hasn't tried emulating Wonderwoman? As a child, I had these bracelets and in my imagination, I believed I was her. I shattered a glass window, and my aunt and grandmother ran over to me to treat my cut arm. I boldly told them that it didn't hurt because I was Wonderwoman. I believe that these superhero, magical artifacts help empower girls universally.


"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."

- Albert Einstein


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Ochie's Cube Inspiration

I wanted to create this because I remember being in a secret club and I was appointed treasurer to protect personal photos and journals of other members. I also wanted to use light to breathe life into inanimate objects, and making these objects more emotional.


Background

The story and character development behind this toy was just as important to establish as the prototype itself. I found that in my research that there are gender differences in "play." Laura Allen from Vision Education discussed gender issues of toys, which I thought was helpful. She said she observed that girls tend to "like narration, they like a story," and that girls tend to want to know the "how" and "why" the object works in the real world. Girls are more goal-oriented and boy like "tweaking."

These bracelets will allow remote communication between users, and access to a file digitally and physically. This bracelet will allow the user to summon her friends, but in the story, the bracelet allows her to clone herself instantly with some variation to fight evil. The superhero can clone herself so that each kid wearing one of these bracelets plays one instance of the same character.

This concept comes from twins and their telepathic bond, extended to universal sisterhood and community. The target market is for girls between ages of 9-14 years.

Who are the Sasu Twins?

For the narrative, the bracelets are worn by twin girls. They communicate to each other telepathically. The name "Sasu" was inspired by the movie "The Shining," where "shining" is a metaphor for telepathy. "Sasu" mean "to shine" in Japanese, which is how they communicate. They can read people, and they use their power to "connect" and cleanse evil spirits, similar to exorcisms except these connections are more mental. They reflect some of their powers to victims. They fight evil, and when they combine their powers, they are stronger. When they fight alone, they become weaker than human.

Who is Ochie?

Ochie is the sidekick of the Sasu Twins. In the fantasy, Ochie is a toy doll that the Sasu Twins share. He only comes to life when they transition into becoming the superhero. While the aesthetic of the Sasu Twins will be semi-realistic, Ochie will appeal to a younger audience. It has not been determined if he is a jellyfish or octopus, but nevertheless, he has eight legs, hence, "ocho" means "8" in Spanish, and the roundness of his head looks similar to a mochi ice cream and Lucky, my kitty. His legs were inspired by kitty-paws and this loving gesture of my pet.

Ochie's Cube

The second component relates to a type of "Secret Society" safe box that helps track who was the last person to access the space. The bracelets control this box and the light gives it life.

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Audience


My target audience is for Girl-Tweens because they this is the period where they experience insecurities and angst. They are the forgotten age group. They are too old to be coddled, and too young to define themselves as "cool." Being 11, brings me back memories of uncertainties turning the world upside down. For example, experiencing hormonal changes, fitting in, defining yourself, boys, peers, role-models, different classroom structures. Specifically, in grade school, you sit in a class of 25, and learn different subjects. You have the same peers for the eight hours. You are comfortable. When you transition to junior high school, you have 6 different classes and homeroom.

Yes, all Girl-Tweens go through this phase. Hopefully, these toys and stories help them through this tough transition to adolescence and adulthood.

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User Scenario

Sasu Bracelets have 4 modes:

I designed the interface similar to that of a digital watch, where one mode is always on. The first mode is always on and represents the energy level your "twin" feeding you. This requires physical interaction, and a gesture that unites the bracelets by powering them through a reed switch and magnet present on each bracelet. Over time, the power bars/levels fade so that you have to meet again to power up.

The second mode represents an expression of an emotion, consisting of animation and inanimate patterns. You can send your friend a message to convey your mood. They can send this to a friend via RF link, and over time this too will fade. There are 4 variables: fast animation to convey a sense of urgency, slow animation which can mean constancy or stability, dimness of the lights (visually would look like a blur) could mean warmth, and full brightness could mean strength or intensity. I envision this mode to look like vital stats of a heart rate monitor.

The third mode would be a gift exchange of "jewels." You can send a gift of beauty to your friend. There will be set patterns that you can scroll through, which also leaves the possibility of developing an application that will motivate young girls to write a little code to send a customized pattern.

The fourth mode will access Ochie's Cube. Ochie guards these girls belongings. A light is always illuminated when the box is activated, i.e. pink or whatever color they always assign "Ochie" to be. When they deactivate to gain access to the box, the light will fade to the last person who accessed the box ("blue" or "amber"), allowing them both to know who was the last person to touch it. When the box is accessed without the bracelets, it will notify both bracelets, and the lights of the box will pulse.

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Implementation

Materials: Plexiglas, PCB board, surface mount led lights, RF link breakout board, cellphone battery, Easter egg dye, rhinestones (to be determined later)

The gameplan is to develop the application for a screen-based game that will motivate girls to learn code. Also, I am designing a prototype game (Tomogatchi and Nintendog inspired) stored on a flash card that will light in different colors to convey the different moods of the characters.

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Conclusion

I tried a different approach in designing these toys. I came up with a concept, but because I was uncertain about the technology, I decided to come up with the story at the end.

My main focus on this project was to create emotion with technology. I also wanted to experiment with the aesthetics of revealing the beauty of technology, and adding a graphic layer on the shell, to make it appear more complex and futuristic. I was hesitant with testing this aesthetics to Tweens, but I received positive feedback from them.

I had a lot of fun with this project, trying to create meaning and magic with every aesthetic detail and remembering how it was to be a kid.

References

James N. Sears, Engineer
Angela Pablo
Daniele Smith
David Bamford, Emily Bamford, Scott Bamford
Laura Allen, Vision Education
Danny Rozin
Tom Igoe
Todd Holubek
Shelly Smith
ITS at NYU

Mattel
Fisher Price
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
Tite Kubo
The Shining by Stephen King
Mental Radio by Upton Sinclair and foreword by Albert Einstein
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Nintendog
Tomagatchi
The Sims
Tokidoki
Ryota Kuwakubo
Sanrio
Pucca