Sketch-a-Move                                                                                   Back to main site

Sketch-a-Move is a 5 weeks project I did with Anab Jain. The brief was set by Mattel Hotwheels to come up with a new concept for their small toycars.

Draw a straight line on top of the car, lift the pen and the car shoots off in a straight line. Draw a circle on the car and the car starts wildly spinning around. Draw a complicated squiggle and the car spirals in and out.
We were interested in designing a new toy car, to offer exciting play opportunities and challenge the intuitive and creative skills of children. Playing around with the idea of creating tracks rather than redesigning the car itself seemed most appealing to us.
Children often take their car around crazy paths, creating shapes and patterns. Sketch-a-Move offers a new way of exploring this. Create short or long lines. A closed set of lines makes the car move in a loop while an open ended line will allow the car to do the track only once. Change the track as often and as many times as you like.

To explore the idea we decided it would be most effective to focus on the play possibilities for the car rather than trying to build a working prototype. The car in our videoscenarios is not technically working. The car is purposefully plain to illustrate our ideas. We imagine the car to look like any regular HotWheels cars incorporating the new “sketch” surface.

Sketch-a-Move allows you to explore the unique relationships between small surface doodles and actual physical movements. It creates a new engaging space for play amongst children of a wide age group and is appealing to boys as well as girls, and even adults!

Hotwheels, Mattel set this project as part of the university workshops – inviting four schools to participate in a design competition. Sketch a move was selected and was presented it at the Hotwheels headquarters in California in july during their Expo.

Sketch a Move in online articles:
near near future







During the development process we always experimented and recorded the experiments on video.
Because of our aim to create a flexible toy we chose to focus on possible play scenarios rather than develop a working prototype. The car in the video is fake!

We were interested in how you could actually play with the toy and whether this would be fun rather than how it was constructed technically.

Watch video containing a demo of "sketch a move" and the different play scenarios we tried out. Have fun...!


But Sketch-a-move is not fantasy - This is how we imagine the technical side of it:

On top is a screen made from an analog editable material. Under this surface a touch screen is placed to allow the stylus like input to be translated into movement by a microprocessor. The movement is performed by 2 solenoids to steer the car and a motor to give the speed. All the components are powered by rechargeable battery.


Hotwheels, Mattel set this project as part of a university workshops – inviting four colleges to participate in a design Expo. Sketch a Move was selected and we presented it at the Hotwheels headquarters in California by the end of july. It was recieved very well.


upload soon