richard elaver reinterprets rubber spatula in flexure toy set
richard elaver reinterprets rubber spatula in flexure toy set richard elaver reinterprets rubber spatula in flexure toy set
feb 12, 2014

richard elaver reinterprets rubber spatula in flexure toy set

richard elaver reinterprets rubber spatula in flexure toy set
all images courtesy of richard elaver





‘flexure’ is a toy set developed by north carolina-based designer and professor richard elaver that changes the way kids build and learn. the piece is based on mathematical principles and a rubber spatula that can easily be disassembled and reassembled. the flexible components can be used by children too young to have developed the necessary dexterity, strength, and precision for most playing blocks.


see ‘felxure’, the flexible wonder toy on its kickstarter page here!



‘flexure info’
video courtesy of richard elaver



from the initial concept, ‘flexure’ has evolved into a building set with six silicone connectors and three different stick lengths. CAD models and a series of of prototypes using 3D printing and rubber molds were developed to refine the design. the main goal was to maintain the intuitive simplicity for putting parts together, and to guide the builder towards creating a variety of structures through specific geometric shapes.



the six connectors that make up the flexure building set



the pieces were designed based on mathematical principles, allowing children to build geometric models like dodecahedra, or simple molecular models. children engage with the toy for very different reasons – playing with the colors, squishy texture, suction cups, and easy assembly. without needing any instructions, it is easy enough for them to just start picking up the parts and building.



a double dodecahedron made with flexure



the parts allow one to make structures that bounce, wiggle, and move. the connectors are made of a flexible food-safe silicone and are joined together with a simple force-fit. this high degree of adaptability enables an easy construction: if two pieces don’t line up, the whole thing can be flexed to make them align. ‘flexure’ bends to create ever-expanding possibilities, and reduces the level of frustration for young builders.



a methane molecure made with flexure


opening the flexure set up in a classroom


group building with flexure toy


designer, richard elaver during user testing


playful and safe, the flexure structures are wearable


flexure cover image



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

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