toot is an interactive and sound-active toy designed for children aged between three and six years old that wants to develop children’s auditory skills, music attitude and language skills.
Interface and interaction modality
toot is composed by eight little cubical speaker boxes. On each speaker children are able to record a sound. They can record their own voices or normal sounds coming from the environment around them.
In order to listen back to the recorded sound the speaker must be shaken as if the sound was phisically trapped into a box. This interaction is very connected to the phisycal aspect of the toy, infact children have to shake the box as if they would have to listen the sound of something inside the box. After having recorded sounds on them, the speakers can be placed in a sequence after Mr.toot, and by tapping on his head it is possible to trigger the playback of the speakers in a sequence. The speakers and Mr.toot smap magnetically together in order to help children to place them in the correct position.
The main experience offered by the toy is the recording of sounds and the building process of a sequence. A mobile application is offered to expant the interaction and to offer different exercises that will enhance children’s earing sense and creativity. the application offers different kind of exercises. The melody puzzle: where a melody selected by the user is divided in eight parts and sended to the eiight speakers. children have to build the melody back by placing the speakers in the right order. The sound matching: this exercise is inspired by the Montessori sensorial exercises. On the bottom four of the speakers are painted in blue and the remaining four in red.
In both cases the applicaton is able to give live feedback on the state of the exercise and to advise users when they are doing the right thing.
At the beginning of the realization of this product I decided to concentrate on the flexibility of the product itself rather than the feature that it could offer. This aproach drove the project to be very flexible and open to a lot of kind of experiences where the speakers act as a platform for all kind of sounds and children are free to experience the product in their very own way also coming up with new ways of use.
Research and development context
In a panorama where most of the music toys are just the children-size version of music instrument, this product wants in a way create, as other have done before, a new way to experience sound and music. The focuses of ths project are the concept of sound and the concept of time that putted together can form the definition of music.
The sound is captured in the speakers and the time is rappresented by the sequence of sounds one after the other. This product wants to be both a normal in-house toy and an educational instrument that can be used inside schools such as the Montessori. The research has been made with the help of musicians and educators from different areas of expertise. This project has at its focus the enhancement of user’s sound sensibility, musical attitude and language skills.