Brunel student Charlotte Colman reveals the origins of her wire and rod based construction toy.

DIARY OF AN INVENTOR: Charlotte Colman and XIRO

XIRO is an engaging wire and rod based construction toy that uses magnetic connections, a magnetisable dodecahedron shaped hub and a steel pentagon base.

The toy has been colour coded in order to identify the polarity of the outward facing magnet, while the dodecahedron shaped skeleton is moulded around the magnetisable sphere. This allows for a clear product identity.

When used, the toy can create a wide range of connection methods and angles. It also creates rotational movements around connections.

The product is fun, inspirational and educational for children aged six to ten years old. The toy mimics activities encountered in the world of creative work, such as design and engineering, allowing for a fun and engaging introduction to STEM.

It was discovered during the research stages of construction toys that the property of flexibility was missing from the construction toy market, with all other construction toy components being rigid, reducing the user’s creativity.

I am hoping to go into a career of toy design and so far, all reactions to the project have been positive among children and adults alike.

During the Made in Brunel and New Designers exhibitions, children have been so engaged by the toy that their parents had to ask more than once for them to look around other exhibits, while many adults have wanted the product as a desk toy.

I am currently aiming to develop this product further and hopefully get it to market.

I believe it is extremely important for the toy industry to notice young designers as we have a greater understanding of how children are interacting with toys nowadays as we were children ourselves not long ago.

At present the intellectual property is being finalised for the toy and once completed I hope to develop the toy in more detail and complete more product and user testing. Overall, this has been a project I have enjoyed so far and hope to improve further.

If you would like to contact Charlotte Colman please email

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