Foldable Little Beasts to Play With

Done in collaboration with Alex Lin and Ophelie Tousignant, under the advisory of Prof Garth Zeglin.

The goal for this project was to provoke a sense of delight/wonder in a young audience by creating origami-based creatures that interact with the child through the use of a simple, repeatable, mechanical system that reacts to the child’s presence with sensors.

Our project focused mainly on the use of motion and sound to initiate contact and connect to the visitors in an effort to inspire interest and curiosity regarding the functionality and reactions of the project. Overall, however, this project found that the motions, whether due to the frosted acrylic vitrines, or the dynamism of the space context, were too subtle to attract extended interactions with visitors. The ultimate question that the project attempted to resolve was how a project could navigate its surroundings to successfully capture and maintain the attention of children.

All three creatures

We wanted to design a modular mechanical system both for efficiency of manufacturing and because the fragility of the paper we chose to use for the origami structure forced us to consider the possibility of having to replace the origami on the system. By choosing a similar system for each creature, we hoped to keep the option of replacing the creature open, should it be necessary.

We chose to give each creature different action settings that correspond to how an animal might behave in its natural state. A flight/fight response was established for each creature, and activated based on the location of the audience. For example, if a child were to stand in front of sensor #1 or #3, the creature would respond with a programmed “fight” mode, and if a child were to stand in front of sensor #2 or #4, the creature would respond with a programmed “flight” mode. Each reaction was tailored to each creature based on the construction of the origami.