Friday, June 1, 2012

Roominate: Make It Yours! by Maykah Inc. — Kickstarter

We believe that early exposure to STEM through toys will inspire change.


Roominate is a different kind of toy. It is our first step in inspiring the next generation of female technology innovators.

Roominate is a stackable, attachable & customizable miniature room with working circuits that you build yourself.

Our Idea 

We are three women who majored in engineering, math, and science. Throughout our education and at work, we were all far outnumbered by men. We realized that our own experiences in childhood were integral in attracting us to math and science as adults.

  • Alice grew up playing in a robotics lab and her father gave her a saw when she asked for a Barbie.
  • Bettina built hundreds of Lego creations with her older brother and hence gave no thought to any gender differences in toys growing up.
  • Jennifer loved solving math riddles with her dad, and one of her earliest childhood memories is of her grandfather teaching her how to do long division in her head. 

Based on the belief that childhood exposure can facilitate excitement, familiarity, and confidence between young girls and STEM, we came together to design Roominate. 

Roominate is a kit of wooden building pieces and circuit components with which a child can use her creativity to design, build, wire, and decorate her own unique interactive room. 

AND, the rooms are attachable and stackable, enabling girls to build and design expandable structures. The pieces are made to be simple and intuitive so as to allow a girl to explore and discover on her own.

Developing Roominate

Over the past few months, we've worked with over 200 girls in our target age range to reach our final prototype for Roominate. Young girls have experimented with our toys at local events and at the Children's Creativity Museum in San Francisco. They have tested our toys individually, in small groups and in large groups, both with and without adult guidance. 

We’ve learned a lot about the way that girls play and have been performing rapid product iteration based on feedback and observation. We have seen that designing a compelling experience is important for getting them to try new things - like circuits! That experience includes both the physical pieces and the imagination girls use when deciding what to build and create.  

Using only rudimentary prototypes, we have seen Roominate’s pieces spark remarkable creativity and excitement in young girls.

  • Provide a girl with a buzzer and a motor, and she’s decided her room is a restaurant, with the motor serving as a fan to cool patrons and the buzzer being used by the chef when an order is ready.
  • Provide a girl with a set of animal stickers, and her room becomes a pet shop, complete with dog beds and animal food bowls.

Constructing, creating, connecting, and designing integrate together to make Roominate a blast!

  • Constructing the rooms and furniture gives girls control over the customization of their creation while exposing them to hands-on building and spatial skills.
  • Connecting the circuits brings the rooms to life; a fan or a light can instantly make a room interactive. Most young girls have never made a circuit, but they love the intuitive experience our color-coded circuits provide.
  • Designing the room ties the experience back to common play patterns that we know girls love!

Young girls have loved the product and are anxiously awaiting the opportunity to own their own kits. 

Roominate Reel

We’re more than just a toy company. We want to inspire your daughters to be the great artists, engineers, architects, and visionaries of their generation. We intend to give them every tool to reach that potential.

We have discovered that storytelling increases engagement. With Roominate Reel, a series of mini-movies, we will set the scene for Roominate.

  • We will tell the story of Roominate -- to get girls excited about the world they are about to jump into.
  • We will engage girls with lessons applicable to Roominate -- to enhance the educational value of the toy.
  • We will provide prompts and challenges -- to keep girls coming back to Roominate. Our prompts will stimulate girls' problem solving and creativity skills, while also ensuring that Roominate stays compelling, entertaining, and illuminating.

Roominate Reel will help girls experience the joy of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math!

Join Us!

We want to introduce Roominate to the rest of the world, but producing the kits by hand is unsustainable.

That's where you come in! 

We need your support to help us scale up our production through large quantity orders on wood, electronics, and assembly costs. Also, since Roominate is designed to be played with by children under the age of 14, Kickstarter will enable us to fulfill the tests needed to certify compliance to toy safety standards.


What do the Rewards Include?

We are continuing to perfect Roominate. Thus, the Roominate you receive is going to be even more refined than the one seen in the pictures and video. 

  • One Roominate Kit includes: 2 wooden walls, 1 wooden floor, interchangeable wooden building pieces to construct at least 3 pieces of furniture, 1 complete circuit, and assorted decorations to get you started.
  • A Deluxe Decoration Pack includes: tons of additional decorations so that you can adorn your creation over and over again!

Bringing Roominate To You

Here are the details of our plan to bring Roominate to you:

  • Upon successful completion of our Kickstarter, we will be able to refine our prototype, test its safety and usability, and begin production within a few weeks.  
  • We will continue to do all of the designing, prototyping, and usability testing ourselves.
  • Upon refinement of our prototype, our wood will be laser cut through contract shops in the Midwestern United States or in the Bay Area. The final contractor will be selected based on our ultimate production quantities. Shipping, treating, and cutting the wood will take approximately ten weeks (treating the wood ensures that it passes toy safety standards).
  • Our electronic components are all off-the-shelf. All of the parts we will be using are UL certified, and we will also be conforming to additional toy safety standards. Our assembly specifications with contract manufacturers include in-house reliability and safety testing. The assembly will be done locally. Lead time, set-up, product testing, and assembly will take approximately eight weeks.
  • Before we start producing, we will ensure that our scaled-up version of Roominate is as safe, engaging, and exciting as our prototype.
  • Packing and shipping will be contracted locally. This process will take two weeks.
  • The price includes the cost of our final prototyping, manufacturing, testing, assembly, packaging, and shipping (in the United States).

Join us in creating a brighter future for girls! 

Posted via email from andragy's posterous

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