Students Penn Greene, Ryan Thurmer, Chris Parker and Alexis Stepanek received a $2,500 top prize for their Scribble handheld animation prototype.
at the University of Michigan, US.
A small group of innovative University of Michigan students with an interest in animation has brought the old-school flip book into the 21st century with the “Scribble”, a handheld touchscreen toy that turns digital drawings into flipbook stop motion animations.
With a plastic-tip pen, users hand-draw and save a series of consecutive images, which the Scribble then plays back in sequence to create the illusion of movement (once saved, drawings can be edited). A functional prototype of the device recently netted first place in a toy design competition co-sponsored by the University of Michigan College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship, and Giddy Up Toys.
To make their product, University of Michigan Art and Design undergrads Penn Greene, Ryan Thurmer, Chris Parker, and Alexis Stepanek ripped electronics from an Asus Eee PC. They specially ordered their touchscreen and custom-wrote the Scribble software. The device also comes with a built-in camera for those who want to go the stop-motion animation route.
The Scribble grew out of a December focus group in which student designers asked third-graders what they wanted for the holidays. “Many wanted interactive touchscreen devices such as iPods or Nintendo DSes,” Thurmer said. “Using this information, we reflected on vivid memories of creating flip books as children. We knew we wanted to recreate those experiences and memories, but in a more environmentally friendly and technological way, without the use of paper.”
The Scribble has a touchscreen, and you sketch on it with a plastic tip pen. Then when you’ve drawn and saved your first image, the lines of that image change from black to grey. You can then draw your second image over the top of the first one, using its gray lines as a guide for the progression of your animation. When you’ve saved the second image, the lines of the first one will disappear, but the lines of the second will still be there to guide you as you draw the third. Get the idea?