Industrial - Honours
Animix is a sustainable toy delivery system with an integrated app, game and trading service. This project was derived from research that revealed that the modern toy industry contributes to the creation of consumerism and unsustainable behavior in children. Thus, Animix was created to provide a sustainable, educational and accessible alternative.
Toys are one of the most important parts of childhood, they provide playtime and fun but more importantly are a core component to the development of attitudes and behaviours in children. This development is dependent on the type of toy and play being experienced. The modern toy industry contributes to the development of consumerist behaviour in children through the production of mass amounts of low quality toys at irresistible prices. Through constant advertising with exciting imagery, toys are accumulated in homes where they are unused and eventually disposed of incorrectly, leading to pollution of waterways and eventually the ocean.
The core of the Animix system is a range of modular endangered sea animal toys which can be separated into 2-3 parts to be mixed and matched, resulting in unique creations. Parts join together via a ball and socket joint which is easy to use and strong. Toys are created from recycled coloured HDPE and manufactured through multi-shot injection moulding to ensure they are high quality and 100% recyclable. Packaging is designed to be used to store and display toys, including a pop-out panel with information about the animal inside which can be removed to reveal the toy within. These cards can be used to organised toys or to trade with friends. Each box also includes a unique QR code which is scanned to upload each toy to the Animix app.
The Animix app is the secondary part of the system, providing three different platforms. The first platform is collections, where children can upload their toys and learn about the real animals, the threats that face them and facts. Toys are permanently saved in collections once uploaded. The second platform is the Animix game. Each animal part has unique statistics associated with it based on the animal’s real characteristics. Parts with lower statistic strength have unique powers which can be used once per round in the game. These parts can be combined in the game, creating animals with unique abilities and statistics. Children can compete with their animals in a turn-based game. The third platform is trading where children can trade animals with their friends on the app and in real life. Trades are offered then can be accepted or denied by both parties.
To ensure unused toys are not amassed, trading between friends is encouraged and integrated on a systematic level. If a child has animal parts which are unused, they can mail them back to Animix to trade for a limited edition exclusive animal part which is delivered with their next subscription box. These exclusive parts are based on highly endangered animals and produced in a limited amount with special abilities to encourage children to trade and add value to the parts. The unused parts traded to the company are recycled and used to create the exclusive parts in order to maintain a circular lifecycle.
Animix toys are designed to be manufactured in one piece to eliminate the need to disassemble to prepare for recycling. Thus, each animal part is multi-shot injection moulded from recycled HDPE plastic. Plastic is dyed through internal colouring where colourants are kneaded into the plastic before the formation of pellets. This creates the iconic two-colour plastic look which is consistent across all Animix toys and ensures the parts are tough with high impact strength. Products will then be subjected to glass bead blasting to achieve a D-1 SPI Satin Finish.
Toys parts traded to Animix are recycled and remade into exclusive animal parts. Once parts arrive at Animix they are sorted into colours, washed and shredded into regrind. These pieces are then melted and crushed to form pellets, during this stage small amounts of newer HDPE pellets are added to ensure the plastic remains at peak strength. These parts are then Multi-Shot injection moulded and formed in the same way as the other Animix toys. Since the toys are made of coloured plastic, the colours used in the exclusive toys are a result of the two colours in each standard toy being mixed.
Chiara Bortoli is an industrial designer who has a special interest in creating attitude and behaviour change through sustainable product and system design.