Last saturday, I organized a Toy Hack workshop at the brazilian national design students meetup with the purpose of invinting young designers to open the black box of electronic products, mix it’s components and see what happens. The new frankentoys created by the participants are shown in this video (portuguese):
Industrial Designers are commonly not engaged with how their products will work inside, leaving this responsibility on the hands of engineers and technicians. Doing so, designers, like childrens, are being alienated from the real power of it’s components. Childrens protected from damaging their toys or hurting themselves are protected from being creative with their toys. That’s the real power of good electronic toys: they can be mashed with one another, forming new toys.
The first thing kids do after learning how to use a screwdriver is disassembling their toys. Most parents doesn’t understand that, thinking kids are destroying the toys. Kids are eager to learn how they function. It’s an effort to get more pleasure from the toy than it was designed for, keeping the play exciting even after exploring all possible uses.
Faber-Ludens next Toy Hack workshop should be with children from a poor community. In Brazil, there many initiatives for guiding poor communities to make and sell crafts from recycled junk.
Maybe that can be done with electronic junk also. Let’s see if we can get some funding for doing that. Even it’s not an economic viable or sustainable solution, I’m sure children will learn something having fun. The following video are from a Toy Hack workshop with UK children.