We all know that animals have some pretty neat evolutionary tricks up their sleeves. Kenichi Okada and Chris Woebken have a few of their own. This creative duo have designed three toys called Animal Superpowers to allow children to experience heightened animal senses, and hopefully understand more about a species different from our own.
We as humans have a highly evolved and fine-tuned set of sensory functions, and sometimes it is easy to forget that not all animals share this same set of sensations with us. The designers described there inspiration for the project below:
Our senses evolved to equip us with the skills necessary for survival in the natural world, even things like colors are just what evolved to be important to see and recognize. Through looking at natural systems and biomimetics, design can crystallize and help us understand how we perhaps need to change to be more in tune with our technology and the environment in which we now inhabit…We know that animals have extraordinary abilities allowing them to sense information and perceive the world through sensory experiences far beyond anything humans will know. We call these animal super powers.
The aim was to tap into curiosity and imagination through design, instead of a direct translation of scientific understanding of each species selected for the toys in order to make it easier for children to relate to. The toys created were:
Ant Device – microscopes in the hand ‘antennaes’ magnify vision 50x
Bird Device – a GPS vibrates when oriented towards a pre-programmed home
Giraffe Device – raises perspective by 50 cm and lowers the voice by an octave