Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Sphero: Pixar Cars Lightning McQueen

The last project I worked on with Sphero was the app connected Lightning McQueen - a project dear to my heart as I am a HUGE Pixar fan and a lover of their Cars franchise and films. I was involved in all creative aspects of this project until my departure from Sphero in December, 2016 - from pitch art to user experience, from physical product design consulting to app experience design. It was an amazing project and I was sad to leave the company before I saw it shipped.

Here are some favorite pieces from my time on the Lightning project...

The very first piece of pitch art for Lightning was a sketch showing Sphero's Ollie used as the drivetrain for LMQ.

Another early sketch shows the eye video screen - and also shows that we thought about a video screen for mouth animations as well at on point.


Early first time user experience with the idea that the box double as Mac and Lightning's charging station.


A Reliant Regal I designed as a bird-car for a pitch video.

A story sequence from the same pitch where LMQ encounters a mean fellow.


Some technical art that was used to guide engineers and animators.


Ideas for super fancy display stands/charging stations.

A concept for a charging station based on the NASCAR pit war wagon.

A Sphero-esque packaging concept I did while working with Sphero's amazing package designers - not too far off from the final package design.



Early app experience storyboards.

Pixar veteran and Cars Brand Ambassador, Jay Ward, personified as a hot rod for a Pixar pitch - and for fun.










Sphero: Marvel Spiderman

I was also involved in early pitch concepts for Sphero's Spiderman app connected toy. All of this work was used to help sell the idea to Disney/Marvel and was taken over by a team at Sphero built to finish out the product as I moved on to Force Band and, eventually, another project with Pixar.






The story art below is presented with no dictation as I took these panels and worked up full motion animatics complete with placeholder audio for player experience pitch ideas....



Sphero: Unused Project Ideas - Star Wars/Disney

After we finished production on The Force Band the creative team cut loose on some future product ideas - both building on tech we already had developed and introducing new thoughts. Aside from the one image I did below of the three-droid line-up which foretold the release of a Sphero R2 and BB-9E (at the time we actually had no idea what this droid looked like or was called - only having been told by Lucasfilm that Episode VIII would have an "evil" BB droid), none of these ideas made it much further than sketch ideation.

Future Star Wars Ideas:


A larger, closer to 1:1 scale Sphero BB-8 that could follow you around and would utilize camera tech in the head.

A floating droid somehow using flying drone tech.

The one that made it through. Ha!

A Darkside Forceband.

A drone X-Wing which, of course, was actually produced by Air Hogs.


Ideas explored for Frozen with Disney:
A wearable Frozen cape that used the Force Band tech.

An app connected wand, of course...

...that would control an Olaf robot based on Sphero ball tech.


Sphero: Star Wars Force Band Product Design Concepts

After BB-8 launched we went right to work on what would come to be known as The Force Band. This was a motion control system originally developed with the, at the time, newish Apple Watch tech to allow the user to drive a Sphero, and consequently BB-8, with arm motions while wearing a device connected to your robot.

I worked on all aspects of this project creatively from user experience to app design and tutorials, but the most satisfying part, by far, was helping develop the look of the physical product. This series of concept sketches shows the wide range of ideas I explored for The Force Band...

My meeting notes/sketches from the initial design meeting for The Force Band dated January 8, 2016



We initially wanted to have all of the tech for the band be in a removable pod that could be placed in/on different/future products, such as a "Sphero Lightsaber"






A series of simple, clean designs - think Apple Watch






More chunky/stylistic designs...





A cartoony sketch of Rey (or a child dressed as Rey) wearing a Force Band - I have since forgotten why I was asked to create this drawing, exactly.