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​Marble Run Abacus Bead Maze

Marble Run
Bead Maze


We are our most playful when we are children, so it’s only logical that when we are reminded of it, we feel playful. So, I decide to tap into the nostalgia of childhood and think back on the objects we have as children. For starters, I want something that I can use to keep a tally. I want to keep some sort of a score of our accomplishments. All the tasks and microtasks we actually accomplish. I remember the abacus. Simple enough, whenever we finish a task we can move a bead from point A to point B. For an added element of fun, I decide to make it into spirals and loops instead of straight lines. This way, when the beads move through the path, it will create an intriguing visual that would cause joy and make us want to do it again. I called it loopy abacus. Once I prototyped it, I realized that I had seen this before. A bead maze. I left this bead maze in my studio table and when I came back a couple of days later, colleagues commented on how they loved my prototype cause they found it so fun. This prototype has proven to be successful! Adults found the movement of the beads entertaining and fun. I had made a counting toy. Now I had the concept, I needed to design it further.


        I continued with the idea of the bead maze but I decided to look at other maze type toys. I remembered a maze box my older brothers had when I was growing up. It was a wooden box with a maze. The goal was to move the box to make the metal ball roll around the maze until you reached the goal. The added fun part was that there were some trap doors that you had to avoid falling into or you’d have to start over. This inspired me with the idea of trap doors on the maze. This would add a level of fascination, surprise and curiosity to the experience of using the product. The trap doors in the Labyrinth don’t take the stones out of the game. They simply lead to secret tunnels that lead to different paths. These tunnels give the stones a way through what seems to be a constrained path. Instead of being stopped by the wall, the stones find the tunnel and overcome the obstacle.


BRIO Labyrinth

BRIO Labyrinth

Task Celebrator Sketches
Task Celebrator Storyboarding and Prototype
Task Celebrator Loopy Abacus Sketch and Prototype
Prototype for the Labyrinth
Prototyping, sketching and 3D modeling for the Labyrinth
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