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MIT student blogger Snively '11

All About Toys by Snively '11

And how they rule my life!

As of exactly one year ago, toys have completely taken over my life. I am officially the Conner 2 authority on anything colorful and plastic. How did this happen?

2.00b, Toy Product Design. I’ve blogged about it before, here, and I’ll probably blog about it again sometime in the future.

As a part of the class we took a trip to the Hasbro world headquarters. For those of you who don’t know, Hasbro makes Mr. Potato Head, Monopoly, Nerf, My Little Pony, GI Joe, and tons of other stuff. During our trip to Hasbro I chatted with Don Fardie, one of the model shop guys, and ended up submitting a resume for a summer position. I got the job and spent the summer building action figures, assembling 3D printed parts, racing big wheels, and generally having one of the best summers ever.

But, before that summer, I still had to make it through second semester with Toy Design. By the end of the semester my team, Team Emerald, had produced prototypes for our very own line of toys, ElectroPlushies!

We took our toys to Hasbro to see if they’d be interested in producing and manufacturing them but they weren’t, so we began to explore other options. As we researched Limited Liability Corporations, Patent Attorneys, Safety Standards, and other complicated stuff, two important things were happening. The first was that a museum in Lowell, MA was interested in displaying ElectroPlushies in a toy exhibit for several months. I went and visited them a couple of times just to see how they were doing. They seemed to be getting along OK. The only part that wasn’t doing OK was the fabric that we had dyed, it was starting to fade, but still looked decent.

The second important thing was that the video of our final presentation was being broadcast on YouTube, and it didn’t go unnoticed. We were contacted by a manufacturer/venture capitalist/designer that was eager to produce ElectroPlushies for us, free of charge! This was some of the most exciting news we’d gotten in a while! Ok, Hasbro doesn’t want them, but this way we’ll have much more control over design decisions and manufacturing details!

Then we ran into another problem. Our prototypes, while they did work, were about as far away from safe as possible. There’s a ton of engineering in store for ElectroPlushies before they can be manufactured, but our potential manufacturer didn’t have the resources to do the necessary engineering. Solution?

Ginny ’10 found an invention contest on that offered $20,000 worth of design, engineering, marketing, and prototypes to the winner, $10,000 for 2nd place, and $1,000 for 3rd place. A day or two before the deadline we slapped together an application (copy/paste from our final presentation) and submitted it. Fifteen days later we got an e-mail . . . Second Place! WOO! Included in our $10,000 package was complete access to a patent attorney, a patent (if patentable), market research, and engineering/3D renderings/models/prototypes. That’s right, engineering!

While all of this contest stuff is happening, ElectroPlushies finished up their stay in the museum at Lowell and were transferred to the MIT Museum. If you visit the MIT Museum, go to the top of the stairs, and look to your left, you’ll see a large display case full of 2.00b toys. ElectroPlushies can be seen floating around in the air. Using my favorite friend Photoshop, I stitched together a bunch of pictures and managed to get a picture of the entire display, check it out.

But wait there’s more! This year I’m a mentor/videographer for 2.00b so I get to live it all again! Also, Hasbro has actually started to manufacture some of the toys that I built over the summer, so I can begin telling people which toys I worked on! I spent a lot of time on action figures for the new animated Star Wars movie. I built the hand-painted models that were shipped overseas to use as guides for the final toys. Here are some of the ones that are currently for sale that I built.

So that’s where we are now. ElectroPlushies are in the MIT Museum, I have a bunch of toys that I built, we’re having $10,000 worth of development done on ElectroPlushies for free, I’m filming 2.00b this year, and there’s a trip to Hasbro coming up in about three weeks. Toys. . . they make the world a better place!

25 responses to “All About Toys”

  1. sepidehtje says:

    when i was little i always wondered who made the toys (most of my toys were hasbro) now i understand actually what kind of people there are. youre so lucky to have one of the most greatest jobs.

  2. sarliman says:

    That is awesome, saw the video, really innovative idea, educational and fun. kudos.

  3. Tiffany says:

    Wow, that’s really cool. But what do the ElectroPlushies do?

  4. Dhvanit says:

    Toys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Miss them..

    @Course on Toy Product Design: Another reason to be at MIT!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is MIT going to patent your idea and force you to pay royalties to use it?

  6. Snively says:

    We discussed patents with the TLO (Technology Licensing Office) here at MIT and they were pretty blunt about telling us that they simply weren’t interested. All current and future development of ElectroPlushies is completely independent of MIT. They, technically, own the physical prototypes but all of the intellectual rights and property belong to us.

  7. Ahana says:

    @Snively: 5 blog entries on the homepage. Are you getting madder?

    <3 Legos…I remember your entry about the Toy Design Contest; hopefully, I’ll see ElectroPlushies here in shops in the future smile

  8. Person says:

    Very impressive! Sounds fun/ I’m wicked jealous.

  9. Molly H. says:

    ElectroPlushies look so awesome! What a cool idea.

  10. Lyddie says:

    Wow! It must be amazing to see things that you created actually being sold! ElectroPlushies seem awesome–I would buy some. smile

    What major are you in that gives you such cool homework?

  11. Quinton says:

    I am looking forward to having Electroplushies in my life in the near future. Kudos to you and the team Snively!

  12. akhila says:

    Congrats Snively. Your toys are awesome. You did a really great job. Good luck.

  13. Ronny '13 says:

    Snively is the only blogger still alive!! But he keeps it interesting, so it’s alright.

    @ sheila ’13(?!?!)

  14. Sheila '13 says:

    Hahha, Ronny. You know that I”m not saying until after MIT CPW! And lemme guess, are you in school now (acordding to the time stamp)?

    Btw, Snively, keep up the good job of blogging. Hahha. smile

  15. hello says:


  16. Bilal says:

    How did youl mange to come up with an idea like that??
    btw loved the part ‘…if they do mange to catch it on fire then they learned a very valuable lesson…’

  17. Sheila '13 says:

    Wow! What a way to spend some of your time at MIT undergrad, building marketable toys!

    Lol, Snively, you’re doing a good job of making MIT appeal to me more and more each time you blog an entry. I guess don’t be surprised if I decide to go to MIT in the end, even I’m not committed now.

  18. Anonymous says:

    If you have any chance of making money from an invention, stay away from the TLO because MIT takes a lot of the money (~2/3) from any patent they help you obtain. As helpful as the TLO is, it’s better in the long run to stay independent of MIT for patents. I got a patent for some UROP research, but since the research was through MIT’s labs and resources, they owned it to begin with.

    Anyways, congrats on the award money!

  19. Edem says:

    Wow, this is really cool. I really like the third displayed toy. Keep it up snively.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Oh man, you have such an awesome life

  21. Anonymous says:

    I want those for my kids.

    @ hello
    Try the materials science and engineering department wink

  22. James says:

    sooo much STARWARS!!!!

  23. Banerjee says:

    Sorry this sounds really stupid, but MIT has a Museum?

    And ElectroPlushies?? Man, this is an interesting world.

  24. Anonymous says:

    But toy product design isn’t on this list!
    Are there other ci-h classes that aren’t on the list? Is 12.000 one of them?

  25. Alanna says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.