with other plush characters. I am currently in the
process of designing similar robots to be used in a
more formal evaluation of how storytelling can be
used to enable learning within a constructionist
framework [ 8].
As with any design, Tofu and Miso have been
generated through an iterative process that
incorporates many design inspirations. Classic
animation references such as The Illusion of Life
have been highly influential, as well as meeting
with animators and storyboard artists from Pixar,
who utilize a much broader set of tools to bring
characters to life. In addition, the work of Donald
Norman has influenced many design decisions
that affect the automatic prewired layer of human
perception, or the visceral level [ 9]. Drawing from
these various design influences, I have collected
a small set of design concepts that have proven
useful in the creation of Tofu and Miso. They are
by no means a panacea, but hopefully a start-
[ 8] Papert, S. “Situating
Research Reports and
Essays, 1985-1990, eds.
Harel, I. and Papert,
S., 1–11. Norwood, NJ:
[ 9] Norman, D. A.
Why We Love (or Hate)
Everyday Things. New
York: Basic Books, 2004.
March + April 2010