Adrian Spagnuolo is a professional inventor and product designer who is working with a family-owned toy company called “Colorific,” which has produced toys beloved by children in over fifty countries. Adrian is part of a team that created the “Build-a-Bot" series of DIY robots that is also Colorific’s first "Youth Electronics" product. The product was introduced in Australia, and its retail availability continues to expand as it proves to be a popular product amongst consumers.

Remarkably, Adrian is only twenty-seven years old, yet his interest in #robots and technology combined with his instinct for designing toys has resulted in his career getting off to an early yet promising start.

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In a recent and exclusive interview, the young designer spoke about his experiences creating Build-a-Bot and his aspirations for his blossoming career.

Robotics, building, and toys

Meagan Meehan (MM): What initially got you interested in creating DIY robots for kids?

Adrian Spagnuolo (AS): I have always been interested in learning by doing as it provides the freedom for children to own the play experience, while also developing real-life application skills. The opportunity to create a robotic toy like this was a dream come true. Build-a-Bot is a great way for our consumers to learn about the process of making something and seeing how the various components interact to produce an overall amazing product.

MM: Was it hard to find the balance between advanced robotics and easy-to-understand instructions so kids wouldn't get frustrated?

AS: We have a thorough product-testing program with kids to ensure that our instructions are easy to follow for the right age group.

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When creating instructions, we leverage our skills in 3D imagery to present a visual representation of how each part connects and functions with each other. Kids and parents both love online videos that give them access to step-by-step instructions in a familiar format. We're trying to make building robotics easy and fun to learn.

MM: You now have three delightful and colorful models, how did you choose?

AS: We are very focused on what kids want and will love. When making decisions such as characters, we spend a lot of time working with children and parents as well as monitoring the latest trends. Everyone always has something different to offer, so we throw out ideas and pick what we think kids will love. Many of the office employees have kids, so we always check with them to see what they think of the toys!

MM: How long did the Build-A-Bots take to #Design and which model came first?

AS: Colorific prides itself on being quick to market and we have a great team focused on making this happen.

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The design process varied for each character, but we must admit the Bunny came first!

Children, learning, and innovation

MM: Generally, how do you think building-centered toys like this help engage kids in learning hands-on skills?

AS: It is a fulfilling experience when a child has a bunch of pieces that mean nothing on their own and then once assembled, result in a robotic toy. We are after that “eureka” moment and that sense of satisfaction or accomplishment that we want our kids to feel when they learn how to assemble their very first robot successfully. This is what S.T.E.M. is all about.

MM: These robots are designed to act like pets, so do they have any features that you find especially endearing?

AS: We would have to say the food trigger accessory! Watching the robotic pets follow the food in front of their nose reminds me of my dog when she smells food! It brings the toy to life and makes them that much more relatable for kids.

MM: What other offerings do you currently have and are you planning to continue making robotic sets?

AS: We cannot give too much away, but I can say that there might be some creepy crawly robots coming your way soon!

MM: Do you have any forthcoming events on the horizon and/or is there anything further that you want to talk about?

AS: So far, one of the highlights of my career is walking into stores and seeing everyone’s hard work come to fruition. The best part is looking back at the first prototype and art direction and comparing it to the final product. Sometimes it is similar, and sometimes it is completely different!

Since Colorific launched “Build-a-Bot” in the United States, we’ve been fortunate to participate in media events, such as Sweet Suite in July. After the positive reaction we received, Colorific will attend TTPM this month to showcase Build-a-Bot and Rev Racerz. Additionally, Colorific will be participating in many exciting events in 2018, including Hong Kong Toy Fair and possibly the New York Toy Fair.

We will also release “Skeletown” this October in Australia - a new product that will break new ground in the DIY category. There are also some new and exciting brands coming out next year that are sure to highlight Colorific’s continuous culture of innovation. #Toys & Games