Juri Imamura


Chickabiddy is a small interactive toy that responds to users.


Introduction to Computational Media (Wed),Introduction to Physical Computing (Thu AM)

"chickabiddy" is my attempt to create an interactive toy that responds to users.

Inspired by tumble dolls, chickabiddy is an egg-like toy that users can roll, touch, throw or shake, and an animated chick supposedly inside of the egg will move, bounce, fly or even peep depending on how you move the structure.

It has been developed as a school project for Interactive Telecommunications program at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.

One of ideas I had in the beginning was to develop a remote food tracker that informs users the status of selected food in refrigerators. But as I thought about its purpose and characteristics, which I defined as "practical" rather than "fun", my interest waned off.

After getting inspired by colorful toy/gadget stores, beautiful architectures, graffiti and public art installation on streets of New York, as well as eye-dropping works by Juan Miro and Van Gogh at MoMA, I was able to narrow down my concept to four focus elements. I wanted to make something that dealt with (1) portability, (2) specific user experience (something I can put on my desk and play), (3) toy or a device designed to "play" and (4) serial communications using sensors. I wanted to experiment with sensors, because I did not get a chance to play with them throughout the semester.

With some key elements in mind, I researched about toys, and was inspired by the simplicity of Japanese traditional doll called Okiagari-Kobushi, or a tumble doll.

I had a tumble doll, I imagined, I would definitely start poking the doll and play with it when I lost concentration during studies or needed a break at the midst of working. The structure of tumble dolls with a weight inside of an oval and organic shape stirred my imagination, and I could not help thinking about an animated chick jumping inside of an egg. And that's when I had the idea of "chickabiddy".

Chickabiddy targets college students and young professionals who spend long hours in front of computers and who are familiar with digital gadgets.

Users can poke the chicks and play with them whenever they get bored, frustrated, burnt out, and feel like having a minute of break. Chickabiddy can be a user’s perfect coffee break buddy.

User Scenario
(1) A user at desk, possibly working for hours with his/her computer.
(2) He/she decides to take a break.
(3) He/she begins checking emails, social networking pages and Web news.
(4) He/she starts playing with "chickabiddy" while doing (3) to have more fun and relax before going back to work.

Chickabiddy has a very simple structure with a sensor.

Whenever the user moves the egg structure, the sensor will send the information to a data processing software, which will animate and display the chick.