Engineer & Designer
FlexBot-final 3.jpg

Flexbot

FLEXBOT

SELECTIVEly Flexible action figure

In my childhood, I developed a certain obsession with action figures; I was obsessed with having a physical representation of my lauded comic book and action movie heroes. Despite my obsession, I had a very specific dissatisfaction with these figures. Every action figure I had as a child was either not flexible enough to satisfy my imagination, or it was so flexible that it could not even stand on its own two feet without buckling. The FLEXBOT design with its implementation of selective flexibility is my solution to this problem.

The joints of my FLEXBOT action figure design feature selective flexibility. This means that the joints of the toy are adjustable, allowing for complete rigidity, looseness, or anything in between. I accomplished this concept using bolts and lock nuts as the axes of rotation in the joints, as opposed to the standard use of rivets in action figure joints. When the lock nuts are tightened, the normal force between a joint part and its connecting part increases, resisting rotational motion about the axis of the bolt. Selective flexibility in combination with twenty-two carefully planned points of articulation makes FLEXBOT proficient in both action and pose, making him a truly complete functional action figure.

FLEXBOT’s joints are designed to be able to mimic nearly any human motion.

FLEXBOT’s joints are designed to be able to mimic nearly any human motion.

The aesthetic considerations of my FLEXBOT design were driven by its functionality. The visible nuts and bolts in FLEXBOT’s joints necessarily create an industrial aesthetic for the toy. Instead of trying to combat the industrial look with curves and rounded edges common in many children’s toys, I decided to amplify the industrial feel of the figure with straight lines, sharp angles, and rectangular/triangular faces. The only exceptions to the industrial aesthetic are FLEXBOT’s domed head and large, circular eyes (reminiscent of The Iron Giant). These exceptions are intended to create an expressive, welcoming personality for the figure in its prominent facial features.