The original concept for the toy came from my memories of long car trips taken as a child. I always wanted to know how much longer we would be in the car, but my parents promises of "thirty more minutes" or "fifty more miles" didn't mean much to me. In creating this toy, I wanted to let children understand how much longer their trip would be while keeping them entertained. The combination of the visual map representation and the games, journal, and stories is a combination I myself wish I had owned as a child. I think the idea that the toy encourages patience and good behavior is one parents will appreciate.
The next step in the creation of this toy would be the design of the actual computer and mechanisms that will operate this toy, as well as the development and recording of The Road Trip Buddy's voice and jokes. I leave that duty to someone more capable of those tasks, along with the programming the games and journal structure.
I have immensely enjoyed the Gateway Lab class. One of the reasons I came to Columbia was my interest in taking a design course such as this one as a freshman. I was not disappointed in my choice. From learning the basics of HTML to conceptualizing and modeling a 3-D interactive toy, I have had the opportunity to utilize both my creative and technical thinking skills. In this past semester, I have learned so many things about computers, both in general and in depth regarding certain programs like Maya and the Gimp. From the communication skills and engineering ethics lectures, I learned about group dynamics and making hard decisions, two areas engineers deal with every day. I think that overall, this class is an excellent introduction to the many facets of engineering.