Students with Toys: Not Just Playing Around

Published in MIT News on May 15, 2013 by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office

Their theme might have been “in the dark,” but the MIT students who participated in this year’s 2.00b (Toy Design), a first-year elective in mechanical engineering, were anything but: Their creations ran the gamut from innovative board games to puzzles to stuffed animals to a comforter that transformed into a pup tent.

The toy prototypes were unveiled and demonstrated on campus Tuesday night before a large audience — including many children — armed with clipboards to score the varied offerings. Adding to the fun, each of the 16 teams of five students presented their invention as part of a five-minute skit — some featuring sound effects, costumes and choreography — followed by questions from the audience. The instructors and mentors who introduced each team did so with skits of their own.

Team Koala introduced its toy

Taking a cue from the “dark” theme, several toys featured monsters, wizards or ghosts. Two games centered on haunted houses. One of these resembled a board game, with monster-themed pieces moving around the house as directed by a thrown die, accruing specific items from treasure chests; the other was an action game in which players used a claw-like device to catch pingpong-ball “ghosts” ejected from the roof. Another team produced a game of wizardry, with a book of spells and “wands” equipped with motion sensors that could disable lights on an opponent’s medallion...

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