ID 490 Industrial Design International Studio
While studying abroad in the Czech Republic, I had the opportunity to expand my design horizons by taking an Industrial Design studio.The goal of this project was to create a toy that would appeal to the Czech market. This meant researching what Czech consumers value vs. their American counterparts. Another objective of this project was to attempt to include as much Czech cultural and historical content as possible.
Prague is one of the most diverse cities I have ever visited. The ancient buildings, with their high towers, share the streets with new, modern marvels. This seamless transition between old and new inspired me to make a toy that would bring together simple, old-fashioned fun and new technology. Prague is also a city which has seen a lot of history. It is worn and torn, but still holds onto its strength and toughness. I wanted my toy to embrace this toughness, and be able to go anywhere in Prague: over cobblestones and across bridges, through the crowds and between the alleyways.
OBSERVATIONS & INSPIRATION
E-ZEE is designed with all kinds of consumers in mind. Young or old, boy or girl, anyone can have fun with E-ZEE. E-ZEE can even be used as an entertaining pet toy. E-ZEE is durable and can be taken anywhere, whether the customer lives at the beach and is always in the sand, or someone who lives in a big city, constantly walking on cobblestones. Even though it is made of high-tech materials, E-ZEE is also affordable for the majority of consumers. The colored lasers used are not the high-powered laser pointers available for hundreds of dollars; instead, they are cheaper, less powerful colored lasers that are still fun and safe for children.
Since I knew that we would have to be creating a 3D model of our toys, I opted to design E-ZEE with simple shapes. Originally, the toy did not have the large exterior wheels. Instead, the entire larger sphere would be able to roll while the head stayed on top (much like the robot created in 2015, BB-8 from Star Wars). However, I did not think I would be able to accurately model this mechanic system, so I decided on the larger exterior wheels.
Building the model was definitely the most difficult part of this project. Tracking down a Czech craft store was the first hurdle. The second was attempting to make the model resemble the final sketches of the toy. Using Styrofoam, toothpicks, markers and modeling clay, I was able to make a quick and simple 3D representation of my E-ZEE sketches.