Topobo BackpacksHayes Raffle, Andy Lieserson, Amanda Parkes, Laura Yip, and Professor Hiroshi Ishii / 2005
Backpacks are a physical components with a button knob that children can attach to Topobo Actives to modify the speed, size, timing and orientation of a recorded motion. For instance, by turning the knob on the Bigger/Smaller Backpack, you can make you recorded motion playback larger or smaller.
Wave-like motions can be explored by attaching the Time Delay Backpack to the Queen, which will propagate a time delay through the creation’s
network. Faster/Slower Backpack can be used to speed up a creation’s movements or explore resonant structures.
Other backpacks introduce sensors and feedback. Position Offset Backpack replaces the knob with light sensors, allowing users to build creatures that can navigate based on ambient light. Attaching structural components to the knob on any backpacks can make the creature behave differently when its shape changes, presenting a type of " physical conditional " feedback mechanism. The kinds of ideas children explore with Backpacks are analogous
to advanced mathematical ideas used to describe dyanamic systems, so children
who play with Backpacks may find such complex systems more familiar and
easier to learn. Our goal is to maintain the physicality of educational
manipulatives and allow children to easily experiment with the local-global
systems dynamics of complex robots
Backpacks demo video on YouTube