Interaction Design: Making objectPosted: December 12, 2014
The brief I have chosen for this project being to create a device that the user interacts with without a screen, and so what I have decided to make is a plush toy which reacts and responds to the user’s touch and presence.
I decided to base the shape of my object around my tiger bean Mameshiba plush toy that I own. I find the shape of Mameshibas to be perfect to encourage people to hold and cuddle them, which is the reaction I want for my own toy. By looking at the shape and the Mameshiba’s seams, I tried to deconstruct the pattern so that I could then cut it out for myself.
I cut the pattern out of some cheap fleece fabric that I had, to test out whether it was right and get a sense of what it was like put together without having to waste my expensive fur fabric.
This is what it looked like pinned up and filled with stuffing, I was happy with the size and shape but through doing this I found a few small areas where the pattern needed to be revised.
Using the first attempt’s pattern as a guide, I traced the revised outline onto the fur fabric
The outline didn’t show up too well on the camera, so I’ve made it a bit clearer by going over it in MS Paint
So now we have our final template of the pattern, I just have to sew it all up!
So now I have a.. fluffy little cocoon creature? It’s certainly great to hold and cuddle, but I decided it needed some features to make it more relatable. I decided early on in the design process that I didn’t want it to have a face, as I think that leaving it blank allows the user to project their own personality onto it more. Having looked at a wide variety of plush toys for my own amusement outside of research, I am very aware that what one person may find adorable, can be really offputting to another. For example, I personally love Mameshiba faces, but I know many people with whom they do not appeal to.
I decided that the creature needed ears. This is most likely also influenced by my love of Mameshibas, but I wanted it to be distinct enough that it would not be confused for one.
I felt the long ears were the best option, and gave the object a nice playfulness with something that is distinct and loose from the body. I also imagine that if I were to make more of these, that each one could have a different colour or patterned ears, with the body remaining the same.
The final product! or at least the prototype. It currently has no functionality beyond being soft and cuddly, but it does that pretty well. Suffice to say I am very happy with it