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Purdue students showcase ideas at Toy Fair

Who says boys can’t play with dolls?

Cody Dezelan, Sagar Sinha, David Schultz and Chris Yamamoto, all seniors at Purdue University, designed and created SO1 BUDDY, a Navy Seal toy doll that can move its arms and legs to swim.

The group is one of 18 that were required to brainstorm, design and create a toy for a mechanical engineering class this fall.

Professor Karthik Ramani has taught the class for 20 years. This is the third year of his Toy Makers Fair to showcase his students’ works. He invites local artists, toymakers and business owners to judge the toys based on their particular set of experience.

The semesterlong project challenges students to be innovative, to learn how to market their ideas and test their abilities to engineer a usable toy.

Douglas Schauer, former president of the association for Space, Science, Engineering and Technology Inc., the governing body of Imagination Station, was one of the judges this year. Schauer is a volunteer at Imagination Station.

Schauer looked for teams that geared their toys toward education. He also was hoping to further the partnership between Imagination Station and Purdue engineering.

“We want to make sure students here at Purdue who are designing toys have a potential venue to maybe test those and also have an opportunity for kids in our facility to learn more about the design process,” Schauer said. “It’s really kind of a symbiotic relationship.”

Jennifer Koytlo of Chicago was visiting Purdue for another class and stopped by the fair to see what students created. She felt that the experience students were getting in the presentation of their work was equally as important as the toy design.

“Some toys didn’t work; they didn’t have extra batteries with them when their batteries failed. These are the kinds of things you need to be thinking about because if you were in the real world trying to sell this to some corporate gumby, they’d laugh at you,” Koytlo said.