Interactive Toy Budget/Update Memo

My toy is the Road Trip Buddy. The designing of the toy so far has been a positive process. After reviewing the suggestions from other students, I realized I needed to rethink some of the details and not be so vague on the abilities and implementation of some of the features. For example, one of the features of the toy is the tracking of a user's progress on his trip. One student suggested that I have some way to account for rest stops and unforeseen delays that a parent could not plan for in advance. Because of this suggestion, I have decided to include a pause button on the timer.

In modeling the toy using Maya, I have considered the logistics of how large such a toy should be for convenience in travel. Also important in the design of the toy is the keyboard the user will use to enter information. I had to decide the relation between the size of the screen and the keyboard, as they share the same interior side of the toy. I wanted the screen to be large enough so that the user did not have to squint to read the letters. However, small children would become quickly frustrated with a toy whose keys were not conducive to their often chubby and sometimes uncoordinated fingers.

I also spent much time modeling the face on the outside of the toy. The face needs to be inviting to the user and give the toy a friendly and fun persona. I opted to give the Road Trip Buddy a large smile and large eyes for this purpose.

Budget limitations were a problem in forming the initial concept of the toy. I wanted the user to be able to record the journal by voice, which would be more convenient for a child. The cost of obtaining enough storage space to make this feature worthwhile, however, was prohibitive. Also, I was unable to include a feature that would play 20 Questions with the user, as the memory and hardware for that game are out of my price range. I think that the special components that I incorporate into the toy at this point still make an entertaining and enjoyable toy, however. I look forward to completing its design by designing the tracking map and placing the lights that will react when certain points in the trip are reached.

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