Ainura Nifdalieva – Exercise 6 (part II)

February 24, 2011

My toy is a colourful flower with a flexible stem that could be bend in any directions. It can be placed everywhere around the house: on a lamp, on a table, over a head of the bed, etc.

Observation: In the beginning, person was studying  the object in order to see what function and interaction it has. When observer noticed that the stem of the flower is pretty flexible, he started to bend it in different directions.Then, he straightened the stem and bend it again. After, he was trying to bend the stem by rotating it and giving a spiral look. Later,he pushed his hand through the spiral looking stem and after he was engaged with the object for a while. Finally, the colourful petals and a happy face of the  toy made the observer smile.

Exercise Six, Part Two: What is Fun?

February 18, 2011

Exercise 6 – Queenie Chan

February 18, 2011

Sudoku Handheld

Description: A handheld device meant to be used with two hands, much like a mainstream handheld gaming system (ex. NDS, PSP). It has a 9×9 grid and various buttons of different functions meant for solving sudoku puzzles. Generally, the time it takes to solve a sudoku puzzle ranges from ten minutes to an hour, depending on the user and on the difficulty of the puzzle.

During the class, very few people picked up the handheld to play. Some users mentioned that it was too difficult, and the few people who picked up the handheld did not finish any puzzles. Some did not know the rules or otherwise showed little interest. One person said that it would be good for use on subway rides and such, seeing how sudoku puzzles can be time-consuming and thus help pass the time when the user “had nothing better to do”.

Thoughts: There was less interest in this toy than I thought there would be, the reason probably being that environment and circumstance change how appealing a toy may be. In situations where the user has an extended period of time to burn, the sudoku puzzle becomes much more appealing. The toy’s appeal is limited by its difficulty and time-consuming nature, though I think it is still a good brain exercise.

Toy Observation: Yo- Yo

February 18, 2011


The yo- yo is a flat spool with a length of string tied at one end. A yo-yo is played by inserting one finger into the slipknot, letting the spool down and pulling at it so it turns mid- air and come back up and rolls itself into the spool again.

The yo- yo is universally known. It is a unisex toy that can be enjoyed by all age groups. One must initially be taught how to play with a yo- yo but once a person learns, they’re unlikely to forget. Yo- yo’ s come in a number of colours, designs and sizes, which cater to each person and generation.


In my observation, one person mentioned just after first glance that they used to love playing with yo- yo’s; they can be nostalgic for some people. Many people had trouble getting the hang of it at first but, like riding a bike, the motions came to them quickly. Someone was also speaking about its size and how it can easily be stored in a purse or pocket and used when passing time. There seemed to be a bit of satisfaction that came when people were able to successfully play with the yo- yo for a certain amount of time without having the string bounce out of its course.

Jessica Di Biase

Melanie’s deconstruction of a toy.

February 17, 2011

This toy is deemed THE CLIMBER. It is a small remote-controlled car that drives along walls. Unlike most remote-controlled cars this one is able to drive on flat vertical surfaces (ie walls). There is a vacuum fan installed  in the small red car that helps it stick to the wall, and the remote controls it’s movement.

OBSERVATION: Subject at first thought it was only a regular remote control car, until further investigation. When discovered that the car drives on walls, subject was very excited and impressed. They found it fairly easy to use, simply turn it on until you can hear the fan and stick it on the wall. Subject spent several minutes driving the car around on the surface of the wall, avoiding windows, and pictures hung on the wall. After a few minutes subject turned off device, and plastic car fell to the ground.

THOUGHTS: I think this toy is quite impressive and can be enjoyed for longer durations (possibly setting up obstacles on the wall to avoid). However I think it could be improved if the suctions were placed on larger “off-roading” wheels so the vehicle was able to drive over things, through doors from room to room, or be able to climb onto the ceiling and floor.

Deconstruct a Toy – Anna

February 17, 2011

The item is a well-known puzzle toy – the rubik’s cube. It is a cube composed of six coloured sides, each divided into 9 smaller squares. The person playing with the toy can shift these smaller squares in a number of ways. The aim is to get all of the same colours together on one side.

Observations: the person playing with the toy seemed intrigued at first. He picked it up and turned it around in his hand for a bit. After a moment of analyzing the colours and the sides, the person began turning the different squares in different directions, experimenting with the possible ways the task could be accomplished. The person already seemed to be aware of what the intention of the toy was – to get all the colours grouped together. The person’s expression was very focused and determined. He said “hmm” a lot and kept asking “how do I get this colour over here?”. Eventually, he put down the toy in some frustration and stated that he didn’t know what to do.

Thoughts: I found it a little amusing to see the subject getting angry that the toy wasn’t working the way he imagined. It seemed that as soon as he started figuring it out, something else stumped him. I liked that it kept him occupied for a while and that he was intrigued by it, but I understand that it is not an easy toy to solve.

Ex6: Deconstruct a Toy: Field Observation – Tanya Ilina

February 15, 2011

Description: plastic mechanical toy – Thumbelina in the flower

Observation: The person picked up the toy, turned it in hands mumbling meanwhile that there was suppose to be some kind of interesting mechanism in it.  After finding a comfortable position to hold the toy in hand he pushed the bar with another hand triggering the mechanism which opened the flower and revealed the Thumbelina inside. The person was surprised and excited; he released the bar and the flower shut. The person repeated the operations of opening and closing several times trying to figure out how the toy worked and paying no attention to the girl inside. After several minutes of scrutiny the person put the toy back on the shelf and said: “It’s an interesting toy I wish you’d allow me to take it apart”.

Thoughts: This toy is interesting and exciting at least for the first few minutes, mostly because it has a secret. As soon as the person discovers the secret the toy becomes less interesting, but it leaves the person who played with a good impression. The toy would be more interesting and exciting to the person who at least knows the story of Thumbelina and the story of this particular kind of toy. For those who have it, it is also a piece of nostalgia from Soviet Union childhood.

Toy Observation- Igyeong Jane Kim

February 15, 2011


This is a big bird puppet that I have bought in New York. This Big Bird is from Sesame Street.  He fits perfectly around the adult’s hand. Using one hand, his mouth can be opened wide. Also your pinky and thumb can be used as right and left arms.  His big eyes and bright yellow color grabbed my attention.


His huge eyes and bright color attract people. They put their right hands, right handed people, in it and first open his mouth wide couple of times. After that, put pinky and thumb, using it to move his arms around. They realized that they can’t do both actions at the same time. Some people make Big Bird voices and speak to someone sitting next to. They run out of things to do and put the puppet down.

Toy Observation – Josephine Lam

February 14, 2011

Toy Observation

Blythe Doll

The Blythe Doll was actually made in 1972 but was cut off the market after one year because of their oversized head that deemed too scary for children. It gained popularity in the 21st century when photographers started taking pictures of the doll and made it into a book. It is 28 cm tall , and I was most attracted to her big eyes that changes color when I pull on the string. Her hair is also very realistic. I bought this doll in Hong Kong a few years ago


Girls are most attracted to this doll because they remind them of their childhood. Although it does not do much, people enjoyed touching and playing with the texture of her hair. Some people move her arms around, take her clothes off, lay her down so that the eyes will close.

Toy Observation

February 14, 2011


Oblo is a didactic toy that requires the child to put pieces together to form a complete sphere inside and out.  The colours are primary and thus very visually appealing as it attracts attention. The shape of it initially created interest as something curious.


Many people wanted to try the toy since it was different than the rest. It was simple yet complex on its function and so a lot of people wanted to try and solve the puzzle. It was interesting to see that people 18+ were not able to easily solve it; and this toy is made for pre-schoolers and kindergardeners. The toy was engaging for a very long period of time and it gave the users a lot of frustration when they could not figure out the puzzle, but once they did it was very simple for them to do it and they felt very very accomplished.

Josef Scholbeck Exercise Six

February 14, 2011

Toy Subject- Sony Cybershot Camera


  • user immediately knows function
  • seems intrigued by appearance
  • likes focus function
  • starts reviewing stored photos
  • likes video function
  • explores different functions
  • quickly learns how to use it
  • seems to enjoy playing
  • takes many pictures
  • likes function sound effects
  • seems to enjoy just holding it
  • seems completely focused on toy
  • a bit confused by battery latch
  • immediately knows use
  • takes pictures quickly
  • compliments self-explanatory nature
  • likes compactness and durability

Min Jee- Toy Observation [Exercise Six]

February 14, 2011


The toy I brought to class is a stackable photo frame set shaped as bigger version of lego bricks. This photo frame can hold a single 4 cm by 5 cm photograph. The bright and happy colours make the photo frames more appealing and the fact that the frames are shaped as lego bricks make us reminisce about our childhood memories when I used to play with lego bricks. The more fascinating fact about the box is that it can also be used as a little storage box as the top part of the lid comes off. Just like ordinary lego bricks, these photo frame lego bricks can be stacked together and in different ways. Since lego bricks can be stacked however the owner wants it to stack, the arrangement of the photo frames and designs can be personalized.

Students come and pick up the lego bricks and stick them together to each brick or separate them apart. Initially they do not realize that the lego bricks are actually photo frame boxes, but after they play with the brickes and observing them more carefully, they soon realize that “oh – there’s a picture inside”.
This toy is not too engaging to play with for a long period of time, but it is appealing due to aesthetic reasons. Students looked at this toy for a couple of minutes, but not for too long. As mentioned before, the appealing factor is that the owner of the lego brick photo frame set has the latitude to personlize the arrangment of the photo frame set.

Exercise 2.6: Toy Observations – Katie Fraser

February 13, 2011

This is a watch which doubles as a calculator, as well as other regular functions of a digital watch. Calculators are not generally considered toys due to the reasons why they’re normally used. BUT, it’s bright blue color and the fact that you’re wearing a calculator on your wrist makes it a novelty – which in turn makes it fun(ny).

Observations: Student picks up watch from table. Askes what it is. Askes how to operate calculator function. Pushes various buttons on watch. Finds that pushing button on side of watch initiates calculator function. Performs simple calculation on calculator. Seems amused.  Thinks it’s “cool”. Puts watch back down on table.

Dayna’s Transcript of Observations

February 12, 2011

Description: Stuffed rabbit. Limbs and head can rotate. Capable of remaining sitting or standing as desired.

Observation: Student picks toy up. “This is old-school.” Smiles. Turns toy in hands. Places back on table. No other students approach.

Thoughts: This small, brownish-beige toy does not seem to compel people to play. Its dull colours do not attract attention. Its attributes are not obvious. Active imagining and ‘make-believe’ is required.

Exercise Six: Deconstruct a Toy — What is Fun?

January 28, 2011

Part One (Before Class):

Please bring, beg, borrow or steal (OK, don’t steal) one or more toy from home or elsewhere to class next week. Our definition of a toy is as yet undetermined, so feel free to challenge our preconceived notions. The only restriction is that the toy not be something that you already have in your bag (i.e. not your cell phone).

Exercise Six, Part One is due at 12:00 on Friday, February 11.

Part Two (During Class):

Exchange toys with your collegues, and play with as many as you can. Rigorously observe at least one person playing with your toy. As noted in my Ethnography presentation:

  • Take detailed descriptive notes of what you observe.
  • Where possible, capture your partner’s views of their experience in their own words.
  • Clearly separate description from interpretation.
  • Include in your notes your own thoughts, feelings and related experiences — these are also field data.

Analyse your field observations by distilling them into a series of answers to today’s fundamental question: “What is Fun?” Record these answers on the sticky notes provided. Collectively we will use these sticky notes to interpret the structure of fun.

Exercise Six, Part Two is due in class on Friday, February 11.

PART 3 (After Class):

Post an image of your toy to the blog. Post the transcript of your field observations, edited for grammar and clarity but not content. I will post an image of our collective interpretation to the blog.

Exercise Six, Part Two is due at 12:00 on Monday, February 14.