Smart Toys Design

Designing and Building Future AI Toys & Games

Class Syllabus

Humming Box Humming Box Toy Legoons Inflatable Legos Ballbit Ballbit Race Game

The [Hacking Smart Toys for AI Learning](( was a course I designed and taught at RISD and NYU ITP. It consisted of a series of hands-on activities focused on designing and testing several smart toys, construction kits and play experiences to support youth better learn and play with AI.

Furby Dissection Dissected Furby Toy

Industrial and interaction design students got to hack existing smart toys and create new play experiences to support youth, families and educators to customize and appropriate AI technologies in playful ways. The goal of the course was to imagine the future of smart toys and AI devices for youth and to explore the social and ethical conditions of children growing up with AI.

Cuddles toy eyes Cuddles toy

Example of Cuddles Toy using a Smartphone inside a Sloth sleve.

The course introduced students to different aspects of machine learning through play while engaging the local community of toy designers, artists, AI pioneers. Students got to design their own AI toys or construction kits which they tested in local communities (schools, libraries, museum, community centers). Final projects were displayed in a play exhibition where all communities involved throughout the course were invited to participate.

As a result of this course I supported my students to publish 3 papers describing their toys and design contributions:

Participants at Smart Toys Hackathon Participants in the AI AI Barbie Hackathon

I also organized a series of toy hackathons like the AI AI BarbieHackathon in partnership with Waag Society in Netherlands where local communities of artists, creators and technologists could come together to imagine and build future toys.

AI AI Barbie Together with Participants in the AI AI Barbie Hackathon

Relevant further reads: