Princess Alexa production doll with flowchart - A production Princess Alexa doll with the final flowchart program. Special 'Easter Egg" combinations of light animations and sounds were used to reward nurturing behavior by its owner, as observed by the doll's sensors, and recorded in its memory.
Subtle responses of the doll to positive interactions with its owner were used to provide a richer experience to the doll's owner. Playing more with the doll, with more nurturing behavior, unlocked additional Easter Egg responses for its owner.
Real Talkin' Bubba and final production level flowchart (one of two pages). - Programming the functions of a complex product like this forces you to "think like silicon". You must consider all possible inputs to the electronic logic of the product, in all possible combinations, and design all of its possible responses to those inputs. You really do have to "be the toy" to do it right.
The programming process makes you think logically, in a very linear way. I myself like the mental discipline it forces me to use, but it definitely isn't to everyone's taste.
Miracle Moves Baby with flowchart - I consider an electronic product like this doll to be a failure if the user experiences every possible response of the product in under 10 minutes of play. I layer responses and combinations of responses to try to provide a richer experience for the user.
Many toys will show you all they have in the first 60 seconds of play. I try to turn that minute into several minutes, holding interest and hopefully delaying the inevitable "I'm bored with this!" comment, and the pitch into the toybox.
TRON Legacy Identity Disc flowchart - This flowchart was designed for the SpinMaster TRON Legacy Identity Disc toy. As is typical, I created over a dozen versions of the flowchart as different combinations of features and functions were tried out on the programming model.
My only wish is that the toy was designed to be thrown through the air like the Disc in the film--we had some very cool LED patterns that would have looked amazing in flight. Oh, well...
Winx Color Wings production flowchart - The Winx Color Wings product had the ability to mix three colors from LED clusters in its wings under user control. This flowchart shows how the color mixing was carried out, and the LED animations used to highlight certain areas of the playpattern.
Because of the PWM (pulse width modulation) LED color mixing patents held by Color Kinetics, the LED color mixing had to be done with on or off LED states, not an intensity-based system.
Miracle Moves Baby, first production doll flowchart - This is the flowchart I created for the first Miracle Moves Baby in the series of three dolls. After the doll entered the market, we received letters from customers commenting on how real the doll's movements and behaviors were. That's the sort of response i like to hear!
The complexity of the programming should blend smoothly together into a realistic set of behaviors and sounds, if I've done my job well.
Mattel received great feedback from owners about the doll's realism.
Shiver the Polar Bear production flowchart - This is an example of a much simpler flowchart compared to some of the others I've designed. In comparison, the Serafina plush cat had seven 36" X 48" pages of flowcharts, detailing exactly how it would work in conjunction with the Princess and the Pauper movie, or by itself
Due to multiple decision points at over a hundred different logic gates, Serafina would not repeat itself exactly over many thousands of DVD viewing cycles. This toy is much simpler, but still has good play value.
Pound Puppies Here Puppy Puppy production flowchart - The Here Puppy Puppy toy was designed to emerge from its doghouse for play and interaction. Afterwards, it would home in on the doghouse, enter it, turn around, and go to sleep.
This turned out to be enormously challenging, as there is a very complex set of functions and parameters that have to work perfectly together, or the dog will fail to return successfully. It's easy to describe, but very hard to do.
I think I now have a hint of what NASA goes through with their Mars rover designs.
Drink'N'Wet production flowchart - This was the production flowchart I created for the Miracle Moves Baby Drink'N'Wet doll. The addition of a moisture sensor gave the logic the ability to know when to access certain behaviors associated with the doll being in a wet condition.
The amount of memory on a chip that instructs a product how to run and respond to inputs is tiny compared to the amount used by the sound files, for example. A mediocre toy and a good toy can have exactly the same amount of ROM--it's all in how it's used.
Master flowchart for Real Talkin' Pet - This is a flowchart for an animated Barbie plush product. The output positions of the animation gearbox are monitored by the logic, which uses that data to determine where to stop the motor, and the subsequent position of the toy's head and legs.
Shifting the toy's position between sitting down and sitting up (the toy was a poodle) shifted the animation outputs as well--essentially an animation gearshift. The toy would react to petting on its head, among other physical inputs.
Flowchart for Yumi, a PuffyAmiYumi licensed character - This particular group of toys were designed to talk and sing together when they were connected, so that made their interactions a LOT more complicated. The logic began to get somewhat headache-forming, as is shown here.
Each of the four characters had their own flowchart page like the one shown here. All of their possible interactions had to be specified and documented. My head hurts just looking at this again.