After three years of research and some serious accolades, the trio of designers behind _ Papier Machine_ are launching their product to the world. The book contains six interactive, electronic toys made from paper and silkscreen printed with conductive silver ink. Each is perforated, ready to pop out and construct, and comes with a set of components, including button cell batteries, metal marbles, piezo elements and sound chips.
For some toys, you’re invited to draw on sections with graphite pencil to customise its function – for example the graphite piano. “Like any musical instrument, this piano needs to be tuned,” the team says. “The pitches are determined by hand-drawn graphite zones. Graphite being conductive, these zones complete the circuit.” By adding the electronic components, and popping out the buttons, the page becomes a lo-tech piano.
For the crazy golf toy, once the course is constructed, a metal marble connects the circuit and sound is controlled by moving it around the perforated track. Another toy, called “Playing Track”, requires the user to construct a marble run, and draw on sections of the track to customise the sound output. When the marble rolls down, it closes the circuit and reads the track as a sheet of music.
“We live in a world of invisible beauty. Electronics are everywhere,” says Agnes Agullo, one part of the trio that created Papier Machine, together with engineer Raphaël Pluvinage and designer Marion Pinaffo. “A mysterious life is hiding inside these black boxes. Papier Machine sheds light on it. More than a book, [it’s] a series of six experiences where electricity, paper, play and graphics meet to unveil the invisible aesthetics of electronics.”
The initial prototype of Papier Machine won a Red Dot Design Award and the Audi Talent Award in 2016, the latter allowing them to research the concept further with an exhibition at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. Since then, the trio has been developing the book ready for its launch on Kickstarter today.
“Intrigued by those black boxes around us, we started exploring our day-to-day devices and we uncovered an invisible world,” Agnes continues in the campaign film. “Circuits hide a surprising narrative potential that we wanted to make visible.” With the first book, the team wants to “show electronics in a singular and accessible way” for kids to learn through play.