Magnemaze

AN INTERACTIVE GAME THAT TEACHES CHILDREN THE CONCEPTS OF MAGNETISM

A magnet has a north and a south pole. Opposite poles of magnets attract and like poles repel. Over the course of a semester, I (as a Mechanical Engineering undergrad) worked with a small team of industrial design and business students to design Magnemaze, a toy that teaches children ages seven and up the fundamental concepts of magnetism through visual and physical interaction.

Rapid Prototyping Design, Carnegie Mellon University, Spring 2016

The aim of the game is to guide the smaller play piece through the maze to get to the center by manipulating the larger guide piece from underneath the table.

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COMPONENTS

The game board consists of a short table with a concentric mazer laid over the surface, a small player piece and a larger controller piece (each of which is a magnet embedded in a color coded PLA plastic housing). 

GUIDE

PLAY

TABLE

MAZE

GATE

CONCEPT TO CREATION

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Hero1 clean.jpg
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DESIGN & PROTOTYPING

This project underwent multiple iterations from concept through final prototype using different materials of various fidelities. My role included drafting the model on Solidworks, manufacturing by laser-cutting and 3D printing and assembling the finished model.

In the final iteration, we designed and added "gates" onto the maze to enable users to flip the player piece to guide it through the silhouette in the gate (cut uniquely to the shape of the play piece). This addition presented a novel and interesting challenge to the children and maintained their interest for longer.

Laser-cut Maze

Woodworked Table

3D Printed Pieces

Laser-cut Gates

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TESTING

We were able to test our game with the participation of the Children's Institute in Pittsburgh, PA.

Initial Test

Setup:

After explaining that the goal of the game was to guide the play piece to the center of the maze using the guide piece, we asked kids to interact with the game as they would to play.

Findings:

Kids were intrigued by the idea of using magnets to race each other to get their piece to the center of the maze first but seemed to lose interest after the first round of playing.

Final Test

Setup:

After explaining the purpose of the gate and giving an overview of how to get the play piece through the gate, we asked kids to interact with the game as they would to play.

Findings:

Kids found the gates to be captivating challenges as they raced each other to get to the center of the maze first and wanted to continue playing over multiple rounds.

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A SIMPLE GAME WITH A MAGNETIC CHALLENGE