Rocketship | 2015

Stanford University

Beyond Bits and Atoms class


Alec Winograd


User Research


Graphic Design

Product Design

Learning Experience


For the Beyond Bits and Atoms class, we had the challenge of creating a dream learning toy, in a week, for a specific child, based on interviews, user research and user tests.

User Research

Coming out of the interview, we learned a couple of things:

1) Otto was really into space and exploration,
2) Otto's attention would be hard to capture for long periods of time,
3) We had our work cut out for us.

Some important goals we came up with were:

1) Easy to understand
2) Educational
3) Safe
4) A toy to grow with (Otto would be learning a lot in a short amount of time. We didn't want the toy to become obsolete in a year)

After a lot of brainstorming, we came up with our general gameplan and started prototyping!

Property cards

We decided to make 8 different mini-puzzles, one for each planet (sorry Pluto!). Each puzzle piece would represent a different attribute of the planet (e.g. size, gravity, surface texture, duration of a year, temperature). Because some of these concepts were pretty difficult for such a small child, we tried to physically manifest the attributes. For example, there are magnets in one of the puzzle pieces which represent gravity. Planets with stronger gravitational fields have more magnets on their piece.

The puzzles make it easy to play with for Otto. Each planet's pieces will only fit together with themselves. This way, Otto need to know that Jupiter is the largest planet to connect it properly. The toy is educational, because as its played with, Otto will learn that Jupiter is the largest by seeing it has the largest dome! Also, the numbers indicating relative position of the attributes (1-8) are great for counting! The other numbers like temperature (with the Fahrenheit symbol) are something Otto can grow into.

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Elementary Trumps

Top Trumps game using the elements of the periodic table

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Creativity Inspiring Game | Microsoft Research Design Expo 2007