Toy Ideas - Kubiak

Made by Joshua Kubiak

Come up with 3 toys which explore the physical world and draw sketches of them.

Created: January 19th, 2016


Color Blending Flashlight

Principle: Learn how red, green, and blue wavelengths of light can be mixed together to create a full spectrum of perceived color.

Interaction: Children will use the sliders to individually increase or decrease the intensity of red, green, or blue light coming from the flashlight. In this way, children can make the flashlight shine any color of light.

Construction: This toy is built with the body of a traditional battery powered flashlight but contains red, green, and blue LEDs as the lighting elements. 

Cost: Purchasing high intensity LEDs may be expensive but the rest of the components will be cheap. Regular, replaceable batteries will be used instead of rechargeable batteries to keep the cost low. Probably sells for ~$15.

Durability: The body will be constructed of ABS or another durable plastic, possibly with foam rings around the two ends to cushion any falls. 

Safety: The lights will not be bright enough to cause eye damage. Large "D" batteries will be used that cannot be swallowed, and the battery cap will be attached to the body via a hinge. Recommended for ages 3+ . 

Learned: Even a device as simple as a flashlight can be very entertaining to a child. As a kid, I used them to make shadow puppets or run around in the dark on secret missions. This concept adds another level of control and creativity.


Magnet Wheels

Principle: Learn what objects, materials, and surfaces are magnetic or ferrous by seeing what surfaces the cars can stick to and roll along. 

Interaction: Children can place the car on a magnetic or ferrous surface such as a steel car body, refrigerator, railing, or steel tub. This allows the car to stick to horizontal or inverted surfaces for an added layer of fun on the traditional "hot wheels" concept. 

Construction: Would have small metal axles and a plastic molded car body with a small disc magnet inserted into the bottom.

Cost: Essentially the cost of a small toy car + the cost of a magnet. Could contract manufacturing out to an injection molding business. Probably sells for ~$2 a car depending on size and model. 

Durability: Very durable. Would be made of molded plastic which would stand up to drops and crashes.

Safety: Magnet is not strong enough to cause any harm and is not removable. Would only be recommended for ages 3+ to avoid choking since the cars are small.

Learned: Kids like almost anything with magnets because it is an unusual phenomenon. I had lots of them as a kid just to play with.


Chalk Top

Principle: Learn about angular momentum and how it can keep a top upright. Also see how tops precess around an axis. (

Interaction: Turning the handle on top will spin-up a metal flywheel inside the top. When placed on the ground, the top will then slowly start spinning. Children can load different colors of chalk into the top, wind it up, set it on the ground, and watch the top create patterns on the pavement. 

Construction: The outside body of the top as well as the hand crank would be made of a durable, injection molded plastic. The bottom tip may be composite reinforced to resist wear from the ground. The internal gears and flywheel would be made from waterjet-cut stainless steel. The holes for the chalk would have an easily adjustable collet to accommodate different chalk sizes. 

Cost: This is the most expensive of my three concepts as it is larger (~8" diameter) and has many components (some of which are steel). I would estimate a sale price of ~$30. 

Durability: The tip is designed to be extra-durable to account for the abrasive cement and concrete surfaces the top is intended to be used on. The plastic construction can handle small drops, but high falls onto pavement may break the outer shell. 

Safety: While relatively large for a top, even at speed the top will have relatively little energy and would not hurt anyone who stops it with their hands. However, since it takes some effort to wind it up, and kids may try to eat the chalk, this product is recommended for ages 5+ . 

Learned: Many people were concerned with the resistance of the chalk on the ground when this idea was presented. A spray chalk system may be needed instead, but I'm not convinced normal chalk would not work. I also realized how scale is not intuitive in drawings, as I had a good idea of the size and weight of the top in my head, but others did not. 


Overall Reflections

Coming up with an original idea is very difficult. It was much easier to build off of existing ideas or gather inspiration for the things around me. A lot of ideas were thrown out for feasibility; however, I probably should have held on to them as someone else might have a better idea of how to make them. Also, almost anything can be entertaining to kids if you give them the ability to interact with new phenomena. 

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39-245 Rapid Design through Virtual and Physical Prototyping

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Introduction to rapid design through virtual and physical prototyping. The class will cover the design process, problem solving methods, interdisciplinary team work, current industrial practice, an...more


Come up with 3 toys which explore the physical world and draw sketches of them.