The Industrial Designers Society of America has proudly unveiled the winners of the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA®) 2012 competition – a celebration of design excellence in products, sustainability, interaction design, packaging, strategy, research and concepts. Congratulations to our Build-A-Robot and its designer, Laura Urquiaga, for earning the IDEA 2012 Bronze Award in the Leisure and Recreation Category.
Build-a-Robot, featuring a modern design aesthetic, was designed specifically to address the needs of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) though it appeals to children of all ages. The primary function addresses the need to identify emotions. Secondary functions include sensory issues and fine motor skills. The toy is manufactured with kiln-dried, reclaimed rubber wood, water-based dyes and non-formaldehyde glue in a factory that is powered by biomass and solar energy. Packaging is recycled paper and soy ink. Four interchangeable, geometric-shaped heads featuring the emotions of happiness, sadness, anger and surprise feature a range of textures to address sensory issues.
Designer, Laura Urquiaga, sought to design a toy that would specifically address the needs of children with ASD, while still appealing to children of all ages. Symptoms and the severity are different for each child. Her design seeks to primarily address the issues of social interaction and communication by helping children to identify emotions. Children with ASD typically have difficulty with subtle social cues, such as a smile. This inability makes it hard for them to predict or understand another’s actions or feelings. Secondary functions address sensory issues that are common to children with ASD and strengthening fine motor skills.