A Research Project on Hybrid Experiences

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Little Printer

Little Printer is a mini-sized, online connected printer that prints on paper roughly a size of a receipt. It can be used to print black and white pictures, puzzles such as Sudoku, shopping lists, etc. Via the online connection, users can also print messages remotely.

Little Printer holds a compact, inkless, thermal printer. It is constructed in high-gloss injection moulded plastic. Brushed steel faceplate holds the paper, framing each delivery as it prints. The printer features a zero-configuration wireless connection to the Web (via the included Bridge unit) allowing easy placement.

An associated service lets Little Printer users to subscribe to different kinds of content, or “publication”, be it regularly released puzzles, news, how-to’s, pictures etc. Little Printer can also gather a content package together to create a kind of miniature newspaper, delivered at chosen intervals. New content is created regularly. The printer can be controlled remotely with a smart phone, thus allowing users for example to print a message or a shopping list to a spouse at home.

With its pixel-art content and cute-over-efficiency attitude, Little Printer stands as a striking example of materiality and tactility striking back. To value it is to see why a printed love note is better than a text message.

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LEGO CUUSOO 3Started by Lego in 2008, Lego CUUSOO is a website that allows users to submit ideas for Lego products to be turned into potential sets. Currently, three sets have been released with a fourth one in pre-production.

Users may create a page about their proposed idea for a set. Once the project reaches 10,000 supporters it is reviewed by the Cuusoo team who then decide on whether to produce it. Currently three sets have been produced: Shinkai 6500 (a Japanese research submarine), Hayabusa (a Japanese satellite) and Minecraft Microworld (based on the hit game). A fourth set based on the DeLorean time machine from the Back to the Future movies is in pre-production.

A number of sets based on specific intellectual properties have been rejected because due to the content matter presented. References to alcohol, sex, drugs, religious references, post-WWII warfare and for example FPS games are deemed inappropriate for younger Lego fans. Such rejected IPs include, among others, Firefly and Shaun of the Dead. Lego also rejected My Little Pony -themed project due to the property being owned by rival toy manufacturer Hasbro.

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DIY culture

DIY culture 2DIY (do-it-yourself) culture refers to the larger movement of creating goods and services yourself, as opposed to simply buying them readymade. The culture stands in opposition both to the consumer society and the incompetence it creates.

Literally meaning “do it yourself,” the DIY ethic promotes the idea that anyone is capable of performing a variety of tasks rather than relying on paid specialists. The DIY ethic requires that the adherent seeks out the knowledge required to complete a given task. The term can refer to a variety of disciplines, including home improvement, first aid or creative works.

The roots of DIY culture can be traced to the industrial revolution and the birth of commercialism. During the following century, as the overproduction of goods and services steadily solidified a world order based on selling more and more, nearly everything has been made available for purchase. As the production has been industrialized and moved to larger institutions, the need for the consumer to craft anything herself has effectively been removed. As a counter phenomenon this development has urged many people to return to crafting and creating various things themselves, thus fighting apathy and the removed agency of such a culture. DIY includes also creating new things out of readymade objects, à la punk culture.

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48 hour Bebbu-experiment (SCORE game jam)

Bebbu was made on a game jam October, 2012 organized by a local gaming club SCORE at Tampere, Finland. He was ideated, designed, programmed and sewn in less than 48 hours.

Description of the prototype:
Bebbu is a hybrid toy, a smartphone slip-in plushie targeted to adults. He is a middle-aged plushie-monster that is bolding from more than one place. He would like to be a super-hero, but his life is so miserable, that the only place he can be happy, is when he is asleep. Player helps him stay happy with happy thoughts while he dreams. He features a naked butt that is covered with his super-hero-cape. When held on one hand, the user touches Bebbus butt.

Game design: Kati Alha
Toy design: Annakaisa Kultima
Graphic design: Ilkka Tauriainen
Programming: Juhani Hujala

The process (from the perspective of Annakaisa Kultima):


Very short period of ideating: I had been thinking to utilize jamming to Hybridex topics, so I pitched physical/digital concept with this character.

I went back home to get some supplies and my sewing machine.

I started with first prototype of the Hybbi slip-in doll.

22:30 We added “a butt-feature” to the character. It was first only a joke, but then very shortly decided to actually include it to the physical design.


I brought more supplies and some inspirational stuff from the work (book of toys and similar product; Happy Happitat).


During the night, I put together the toy: it was ready somewhere around 4am or later. I tidied the workstation & went back to home to sleep.

Came back to help with presentation (only 30 minutes time).

Kati improvised one last piece of the description while presenting: “Bebbu is bolding from not only one place”. It made sense.

The experience was fun, we learned a lot and it was also a good start for the experiments in this project.

Some lessons learned + notes:

  • We started with loose “Hybbi” fiction, but ended up with a character, that might be just a relative of Hybbi and changed his name to Bebbu.
  • Original Hybbi character was too “simple” to provide more tactile experiences with fur and all other surfaces.
  • Original Hybbi had too short hands for more fun character
  • Original Hybbi was too tamed/childish for adult audience
  • The game program ended up much more simple than original design was about.
  • The graphic designer did not work too iteratively and we had a too little time to sync the styles of physical and digital realms; the art ended up being slightly different than what I expected.
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Bebbu and iPhone.

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Inserting the iPhone.

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The bold butt of Bebbu – behind the cape.

Photo 27.10.2012 22.37.10


Photo 28.10.2012 11.55.29

The gameplay of Bebbu: push good thoughts into the brain, push bad thoughts outward. If too many bad thoughts gets into the head of Bebbu, he wakes up and screams.