Playful: Alice Taylor and Mint Foundry

Liveblogged- mistakes are mine

3dPrinting is right at the top of the hype cycle. Everyone is talking about it. It is a good thing to have a hype cycle, because otherwise nothing to talk about! what 3d printing is bring the ability to make physical objects to everyone. You can design, use tools, upload your files to people who will do the printing for you. We’re at a magic point of tale. It is affordable, it has democratised making things again.

These men are at Mint Digital Foundry (which is a 3 month graduate scheme) (the team were Tom Mallinson, Luke Overin, David Hunt and Hugh Boys). They have a project to make something physical that can do things. This team has been working on a new toy that has a reason to exist. They did not know where to start with the brief. So they started by laying down some parameters. So what is a toy, what is it for. They started going to toy places, Hamleys and Harrods. Museums, Pollocks etc. They saw toys as objects, behind glass etc. Gave cultural context. Then went to look at Soho sex toys. So their definition of toys…any object in play. Play is exploration physical and non-physical constructs and games are a set of rules that initiate and maintain play.

They started by getting everything down on paper then group things together. One interesting group was food. Focused on sourdough. They experimented, they set up tests, best way to find out was by eating. The best sourdough has a consistent ethanol level and has been agitated a lot. SO how can they turn this into a toy. How can they make sourdough a fun object ot play with. How can children have sourdough culture and not release it. How do you keep electronics and sourdough separate. They felt they had done well solving product design challenge. But they needed to add an extra layer, add a narrative that can be reflected on a digital platform. How do you personify sourdough. It was an interesting process.

What they have finished with is Dough Globe. But really a smart vessel to keep your dough in. you can measure the ethanol and accelerometer to measure agitation. ..but everything also controls an online world. They built a lot of mini-games, that you control with sphere. And when you win, you get recipes. They have defined narratives around the sourdough.

They had 3 months. The tech was about £60, but lots of prototyping. The hardest bit about the project was making decisions as a team. They all from different places and had different decisions making in the past. So learning how to work in the team.

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