In my thesis project - “My Toys of Illness” at the Bezalel Academy Jerusalem, in the Industrial Design department, I explored the subject of common illness among children, from a different perspective - an attempt to turn the negative experience of “being sick” into one with educational aspect.
Through observation I came to realize that children perceive the state of illness and the root causes of it, like germs, as abstract concepts. My idea was to display illness in a visual and tangible manner, through a series of biological substance-based (i.e. Agar) toys that imitate the process of illness and healing.
Each toy consists of two parts: an incomplete transparent figure with the substance; and its completing shape with capsule containing antibiotics. In one instance, the child exhales air into the base figure, transferring his germs into its inner surface. In turn, germ colonies will grow and appear inside the figure, adding to its color and texture. In the next phase, the ill child assembles the completing shape onto the figure, which completes the figure visually, activates the antibiotics that prevent the germs from spreading further, and provides the child with a visual reflection of his/her own healing process.
By enabling children to grow and treat their own germs, the illness ceases to be merely a series of biological symptoms or a general bad feeling; it now also becomes an educational and meaningful experience.