End of Project

On May 9, 2011 we had our final presentation at the Design Factory, together with the other 4 groups. Our group met the day before to finalize things, and we also met in the morning of the 9th and rehearsed the whole presentation. This helped a lot, as it went quite smoothly. At the beginning, we presented the raw materials and parts we were using, then we built the Triple Spinner during the presentation while we took turns speaking. This worked out quite well and resulted in an element of surprise, as the audience was wondering what we were building.

We got some good questions and feedback at the end. One classmate suggested contacting a bottle manufacturer to see if they could produce the bottles such that they could be attached together at the bottom. This would make it really easy to make a building toy out of them. There were still some concerns about the metal hook connectors, though from the 2nd user test it seems that these should be o.k. for ages 5+. For ages 2+, the toy should be limited to the spinners and basic bottle units (node+bottles) without the connectors.

We have submitted our Final Report and Instruction Manual to Belaku Trust, and we hope they find it useful. We are eagerly awaiting any feedback they provide.

Overall, it was a fun project and a great learning experience. Special thanks to:

  • Mari, who helped us stay organized and kept us going throughout the project
  • Kavita, for helping to kick-start the project and providing a lot of good information, resources and suggestions
  • Matleena, Olli, Ulla and Paula for running the course
  • Tomi, for running the first user test with his kids
  • Paula and the people at Arkki for making the 2nd user test possible
  • our Gurus for taking the time to meet with us and for providing their expert advice: Outi Ugas, Lilli Mäkelä, Yasmin Hämäläinen, Minna and Manzoor, and Eija Oksanen, Miriam Azar and Raisa Sulamaa from UNICEF
  • and Janne, for saving all those Pommac bottles!

Posted by Eric

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In exactly one week we have the final presentation and the project will be ended. Conclusions? We have to wait until next week but in this point we can do an overview of the course.

One of the most important phases in every project is the first one: the research. It seems obvious but it is important to reiterate this, as much information you have before developing the idea as better will be your final product. So the background will be a measure of your succes. There are always a lot of different points of view, and with the research you can fill your mind with a lot of ideas hopefully very helpful for the project.

In other hand we have the test sessions. There you can check if your product is going in the right direction and if it isn’t you have a good point to change and improve it. The prototypes with the test sessions will help you to have a good final project.

In our project, the beginning was a little bit hard, because we were not able to mix the design of the toy with the requirements, like the materials, etc, so the workshop was really helpful. We haven’t developed the ideas from the workshop, but it was very productive to imagine the different options with waste materials. After that, we had different meetings, and we started to develop the first idea (“bottle connector”).

During this project i could realize how is to work in a group with people from different countries, and different points of view. It is very rewarding to work in a group and check how the group is working. At the beginning the meetings were shorter, but in a few weeks, when we started to build the toy, the meetings became longer and some sessions were really funny. But it wasn’t always like that, to prepare documents for a deadline, or slides for a presentation is always a needed and important part of the work.

Finally, I would like to thank all the companies that we have visited and all the people involved in the “gurumeetings”. They were the prefect complement to our work, and they have been really helpful to the development of the project. Now it is time to present the final product, so see you in the final presentation!

Posted by Jesus

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Toy – Flexibility

The product we’ve made consists of plastic bottles, wooden nodes and metal hooks with strings as connecting wires. Parts such as the hooks could be a little dangerous to really small children. The toy is flexible enough so that when it is recreated at the Trust, different, safer materials like wooden sticks could substitute the hooks.

The Trust, we assume, will have a lot more waste resources available than we did, thus improvisations from our basic design is extremely possible and it will be interesting to see how much they can stretch from our basic idea.

For the nodes too, the bottle caps could be glued together instead of the screws that we used. This could mean that the children could themselves build and assemble the structure, making it a lot more fun and educative for them.

We have intentionally kept a really basic design as we want to encourage the children to build it on their own. The spinnerama and the tower adds variety to the toy, and with a little creativity, the children could change the design, for example, the number of bottles per node, the height and shape of the tower, and really make each building session interesting and memorable.

Posted by Siddharth

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SGT- Designing a toy

We are close to the final presentation, so we are close to the end of the project. It is time to talk about reflections, and the feelings of being a toy designer.

First of all i would like to talk about the difficulty of design something for kids. Before develope some ideas we had to empty our minds, and we tried to think like kids. Our aim was to create a toy for kids from 2 to 6 years old, so the first question that we faced was: do we know what is funny for kids with that age? Things and games that we can think that they are very funny for kids, maybe they are not, so it was a clear idea that we had to test our prototypes to check if they are funny enough.

At the beginning we were really worried about the safety of the toy for kids, if they were able to play due to the dimensions of the toy, etc. but we didn’t think about if it was funny for them, because it is not easy to remember your feelings when you were a kid. So the visit to the toy store and the meeting with the toy designer were one of the keys for the development of the toy.

After this we had to think about the differences in toys for the different cultures. Colours, shapes, etc have different meanings in different cultures and our toy is for indian kids, so in order to get it the help of Siddarth was very helpful. We tried to develop something neutral, but the things that are neutral for us can not be proper for them.

Everything started with Eric’s idea, “the bottle connector”, and as we thought that was a good point to start we decided to develop that idea. The materials of the bottle connector fit perfect with the requirements of the project, so that was a good starting point. After a few weeks and after one test session, the spinnerama came to our minds. We were thinking in develop something that improve fine motor skills of the kids, and in the first test the kids were shaking the bottles, so the idea of some parts of the toy spinning was great for us.

At the end, we have done some changes, like in all the projects, due to the experiencies with the kids playing and the “gurumeetings” that have been very helpful.

Posted by Jesus

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We did a groupmeeting on April 21st, just before Eastern holidays in order to improve the “Spinnerama” (1st prototype), organize the final report, and talk about the instructions that we are going to attach with the toy. It was a really good building session, and we had a lot of fun improving the design of the spinnerama.

We met in TUAS building and we started taking some pictures about the different parts of the toy in order to write a good and simple instructions manual. With these pictures and some instructions it will be very easy to build the toy.

After that, we developed the improvement of the spinnerama. We were looking for something more challenge for the kids, so we realised that with three interlocking spinners in one side of the main structure, they can try to find the correct position to spin the three spinners moving only one of them. It works really well, and it can be very funny for children with ages closer to 6 years old.

We decided that like we have a big range of ages, the kids closer to 2 years old can enjoy spinning only one of the spinners, and for older kids they have to find the correct position to spin the three interlocking spinners. But the toy can be also a “Lego” toy. With the bottles is very funny to build cubes, towers, and different shapes in order to improve the toy and make it funnier. So the final design can be an opened toy, it depends on the age of the kid.

It is possible to build big cubes, it only depends on the number of bottles that you have. Another good point of the toy is that is made for playing some kids at the same time. It can be big enough to play with more kids, and that is always funny. Kids have to play together in order to improve their comunication skills.

We hope that you enjoy our final presentation, and you are invited to play with the toy too!

Posted by Jesus

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extension blog

due to limited space i created new blog


Posted by Venkata

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PET bottles in India

Our toy design is primarily based on the reuse of PET bottles. This choice in material not only makes use of the most commonly found waste material in India, but also serves in reducing the level of environmental degradation it causes.

Plastic waste has attracted widespread attention in India, particularly in the last five years, due to the widespread littering of plastics on the landscape of India. The environmental issues due to plastic waste arise predominantly due to the throwaway culture that plastics propagate, and also the lack of an efficient waste management system. Problems have been identified in the collection, transportation and disposal, and these primarily arise due to the inefficiency of the municipalities. Municipalities, who are responsible for collection, have failed in fulfilling their responsibilities in the face of increasing amounts of waste, and the scarcity of budget for waste management.

For waste pickers in India, plastic carry bags and PET do not figure in their priorities, because collecting them is not profitable. This is primarily because the rewards do not match the efforts required for collection, and this leads to plastic bags and PET continuing to pose a major threat to the environment. With the formal and informal sector failing to collect such waste, India’s landscape is littered with polybags and PET.

The key problem with waste PET bottles is the limited incentives for the waste pickers to collect them, since they represent low value in the trade. PET recycling units do exist in the country that recycles PET waste into polystyrene fibres by importing PET waste, yet most waste PET bottles end up polluting the environment. Further, the packers and fillers have no incentives to utilise the 1 litre and 500 ml bottles that contribute extensively to the litter, as they are thin and cannot be reused. Therefore, the lack of a comprehensive legislation on PET waste to manage the rising consumption is the cause for the widespread littering.

As the Toying with Thrash team, our hope is to help reduce the number of waste PET bottles in the environment around the Trust, and to use it to make entertaining and educational toys for the children.

Posted by Siddharth

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Spinnerama and the Tower

As a last improvisation to our product, we decided to add an interlocking system with bottles. With the added addition, by revolving one node that has 4 bottles, two other nodes are made to revolve simultaneously! The “Spinnerama”, as we call it, makes the toy a lot more interesting to the kids and is also more  flexible in terms of the number of ways it can provide entertainment. We ourselves spent a lot of time playing with it.

With the revolving bottles on one side, we thought of building a tower structure on the other. With the help of connecting strings and hooks, it was possible to make a highly stable tower using bottles.

This again opens up possibilities for different creative games. The building part could be easily handled by children who are about 5 years old, and it enhances creativity, cognitive and fine motor skills.

Posted by Siddharth

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UNICEF visit

We visited UNICEF, Finland as a part of our Guru meetings, and it truly was a fascinating experience. I knew what the organization stood for and its goals and objectives, but going there and listening to people who are passionate about making a difference and who have dedicated their lives to serve the underprivileged children was humbling. Through the presentations, we learnt a great deal about the start of the organization and how it grew into what it is today. The many projects that UNICEF is currently a part of were briefly discussed. Children in developing countries are in need of better food and shelter and also education that would lead them to a better and more secure future. It was great to see that most of UNICEF’s projects targeted these countries and were actively involved in designing a better future for the children.

We were told about UNICEF, Finland in particular, and the many projects that are solely its responsibility. After the war in the late 1940s, Finland was in need of help and UNICEF International supported the country and its people. But within a few years, Finland developed enough to provide support to other countries still suffering from the after effects of the war. That was when UNICEF, Finland was established, and ever since, it has contributed enormously both in terms of active voluntary service and funding.

UNICEF designs and develops School in a box that consists of all the resources required to set up a small school anywhere. It also has Play in box on similar lines to ensure entertainment and some physical activity for the children. We wondered if we could make manual on how to build our toy. Then people could build it on their own as it is simple and it only makes use of waste materials. We suggested that to the people at UNICEF and they were really excited to know more about it and to have a look at our final product.

All in all, the meeting was a wonderful learning experience and it made us aware of the amount of opportunities that are present to contribute to underprivileged children around the world. It gave us the bigger picture.

Posted by Siddharth

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Plastic and Environment – I

Modernization had its share of disadvantages and one of the main concern among them is environmental pollution – be it land, air, and water. With increase in global population, there has been a rise in the amount of waste being generated  every day.  Plastic is the major contributor to the environmental pollution particularly in urban areas.   Plastic became the critical material in modern economy .  Today, the annual production of plastic exceeds that of steel volume.  The world annual consumption of plastic materials has increased from 5 million tons in 1950s to nearly 120 million tons today.  People became so accustomed to the ubiquitous presence of plastic in modern life.  Plastic became prevalent because it is inexpensive besides its products can be engineered with wide range of properties.

The life cycle and ecological impacts of plastic

Manufacturing, usage and recycling/disposal are there stages of plastic lifecycle.

Plastics are produced by “cracking process”. This process results emission of toxics into the environment, which eventually have adverse effects on the environment  besides health risks.  The toxicity levels varies with the type of plastic being manufactured.  Limiting the level of toxic emissions during the manufacturing process requires tougher regulations and laws.  Such policy instruments ranges from minimum thickness standards to processing toxic outputs during production before releasing them into the environment. Some countries are putting forward laws to ban plastic usage for particular usage to limit the usage. Developed countries are on the track of implementing this regulations and laws.  However, in the case of developing countries the situation is grim due to inadequate regulation and monitoring.

The utilization or usage of plastic ranges from toys to aircrafts, from soft drink bottles to refrigerators.  Packaging sector accounts from 35% of utilization of plastic followed by building and construction with 23%. Electronic sector is slowly increasing their share (8%) with the revolution of semiconductor devices and manufacturing tends.  Lately house wares are using plastic due to convenience (use and throw).  Toys and sports account  for 3% usage.  Bellow figure shows the   utilization of plastic in various fields.  Usage of plastic do not have the direct impact on the environment. However, the volume of usage and handling of used plastic have highest degree of impact on the environment.   Following picture depicts the utilization of plastic in various fields.

Plastic utilization by sector


Posted by Venkata

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