Wintersemester 2020/2021, BA/MA Produkt-Design eLab
Very small children explore through touch and taste and this helps their development. Today it can be seen that children are less exposed to tactile and thought-provoking games that combine several senses in parallel. However, there are many long term benefits when children are encouraged to explore and be creative at an early age.
Taptam is a toy for young children that awakens and stimulates their senses as much as possible, and triggers their curiosity and imagination. By creating a game in which there is no right or wrong, children are given the freedom to use their own imagination and approach things differently.
Building on knowledge gained from previous experiments with haptic, acoustic and visual feedback, it became apparent that the toy should incorporate all of these sensory stimuli - this time with the addition of more tactile stimuli through varied materials and textures.
Taptam is built in a "Totem-Principle". Similar to the traditional wooden building blocks that mostly consist of simple geometric shapes with smooth, rounded edges. Each figure represents a specific sensory stimulus; these blocks click together thanks to concealed magnets. The child is rewarded for playing and interacting with the different blocks, as each provides a different, exciting, sensory feedback. Some of these are ‘smart’ - such as a light module that encourages the child’s increasing level of interaction: gradually lighting up when lifted, it becomes a colourful light show when connected to the other blocks. Whereas others are based on analog textural stimuli - such as tunnels lined We created 2 models: one is a 3d rendered model simulation, the other one is 3D printed technical model contains our vibration sensors and light work with “Processing” and “Arduino”and shows all technical possibilities, the other one transposes the "look & feel" of selected materials without technical know-how.
While ‘Taptam’ has been designed as a toy, there is also potential for further development for use in therapeutic applications if adapted with specialist input.