Childrens smart speaker-projector 
Elemental Path, 2018

Along with Tomorrow Lab, I helped design a smart speaker-projector for children. It was observed that even with new story telling features, most smart speaker systems were limited by their lack of visual hardware. In making this, we moved beyond the typical smart speaker into an interactive storytelling device, that will serve as a powerful learning companion for children. The product was demoed at NY Toy Fair 2018. 

We began by asking ourselves - what are the ingredients for a smart speaker? Extensive market research helped build an image of typical offerings, their features, and gaps within the market. Teardowns offered insight into the construction and requirements for projectors. 

Product design

The product design was explored and iterated quickly through sketches and renderings. Note that earlier in the project, the design reflected a desire for a modular system where the speaker could be bought, and the projecter added later. This later shifted to an all in one product.

We felt it was important to define early on the level of character present in the toy. Too little and it would just sit alongside existing smart speakers. Too much and it becomes a toy similar to Scout. As such we tried to design a non character, but with playful visual features and colorways that geared it towards children.

Product architecture 

Once the external design was broadly finalised, preparations began for a working demo speaker for the NY Toy Fair. Noting that the demo would be comprised entirely of prototyping electronics rather than any custom boards, space was tight and so an economical massing strategy was required. This had to be balanced with providing most of the functionality of the final product. Moreover, other factors such as overheating and cabling were considered. 

Each of the electronic components were tested individually, before combining all the electronics into a single functioning system. I then integrated all of these into a compact electronics harness that could fit comfortably into a looks like prototype. Additionally, I produced the coding to run the demo, as well as visual assets like on-screen animations. 


Riyadh Rateme 2018 — London, UK