A smart and responsive ball to teach programming through play

Connected play

We partnered with Made by Many to develop Hackaball, a smart and expressive ball aimed at 6-10 year olds who can program it using a companion App. Hackaball can sense motions like being dropped, bounced, kicked or shaken and responds with light and sound. It allows children to design their own games by creating a series of rules which control what the ball does in response to certain actions or activities.

A computer you can throw

One of the key challenges was to design a form that was not only robust, flexible and accessible but also tactile and beautiful. The solution is vibrant and eye-catching. The structure of the ball is made of two translucent flexible halves that snap together. An inner core which houses the electronics is suspended on a flexible silicon membrane; this acts as a buffer for the electronics. The outer layer of the ball is a colourful silicone skin with perforated circles, creating a playful pattern and allowing an emanating glow to diffuse from the surface beneath it.

Launched with a $240k Kickstarter campaign

Collaborative research-based process

We collaborated extensively with partners Made by Many to co-create the design and validated it through constant testing with children and their parents. As a connected device Hackaball was complex and challenging product involving interaction, electronic and industrial design.

Gameplay as limitless as a child’s imagination

The app comes with a range of games to program onto the ball to get started, as well as ‘broken’ games that children can fix on the app, this allows them to quickly learn the principles of game-making. They can then make entirely new games by experimenting with the simple building block interface.

Pre-order at www.hackaball.com