A team of Sussex Product Designers triumphed last week, winning a toy design competition with their idea for an interactive wristband that vibrates and changes colours.
Product Design undergraduates from the University went head to head with fellow design students from Brunel University London and London Metropolitan University to create a brand new toy concept at the Inventors Workshop conference last week (22 September).
The teams were given a design brief in the afternoon, then had a small amount of time to develop a concept and quick prototype, before pitching their ideas to representatives from global toy manufacturers, high street retailers, investors and successful designers at the end of the conference.
The brief – to design a toy or game that people their own age would engage with, was interpreted by Sussex as ‘The Bandit’ – an interactive silicone wristband that allows users to connect, interact, compete and socialise with other players. The Sussex team emerged triumphant with their ‘Bandit’ wristband concept, scooping the inaugural Inventors Workshop New Designers Award – and a large glass trophy to boot.The wristband would be fitted with colour changing LEDs, and would also vibrate and deliver mild static shocks, meaning that a range of games could be played, also with the potential for more to be added by users themselves.
Each wristband would come with a free app, aimed at building an online community who share ideas for new games involving the bands. The students’ tagline for the toy was “Get Bandit, and Band Together”.
The University was represented by final year Product Designers, Chatura Fernando, Megan Walker, Kenia Lozano Perez, Conor Shimizu Moore and Ameenah Begum, who were able to use the skills they gained during a module on Toy and Game Design at Sussex, taught by Course Leader Diane Simpson-Little.Sussex undergraduate Kenia Lozano Perez said: “Going to the Inventors Workshop was one of the most accomplishing challenges I have ever undertaken.
“Within three hours we were able to brainstorm, sketch, design, prototype, brand and present a toy that fitted sharply to the brief set by very important toy companies such as Hasbro and Ooba. I could not be more proud of our work, and I think we proved very well that even under such pressure, our enthusiasm and love for design goes above anything.”
Ms Simpson-Little added: “It was a real privilege to be asked to attend the Inventors Workshop with my students.
“The competitive element of working on a live brief, within a limited timescale really challenged their design skills and ability to work as a team, under pressure.
“But, they responded brilliantly and I was really proud of their organisational skills, along with their confident, well-communicated and fun pitch to the judges, where they received some excellent feedback.”
One of the judges was Rich Mazel, director of Global Toy Acquisitions at Hasbro, who congratulated the Sussex team for their ideas, presentation, holistic approach and great gameplay.
Who knows – will we see Bandit in production in the future…?
(images via Diane Simpson-Little)