Interactive Piggy Bank

The discovery process

This project is part of a discovery process with one of the largest financial entities in the US. In this process the following statement was defined: "The Pony Bank is an educational tool, with the aim of helping the children to understanding how the financial world works. What saving means, what is like to have to wait, to be wise when planning. Learning to achieve a goal. Making savings physically tangible in an everyday growing digital world."

According to the research, it was found that the lifetime value of a customer increases if the relationship with the Bank is created from an early age. Children tend to choose the Banks their parents have. In addition, the emotional relationship with objects increases the perceived value of a brand. 

The proposal

It is an innovative money-box to help parents teach their children how to manage and save money in a world governed by digital currencies. The system combines a mobile app and an interactive device (the horse) that allows kids to set goals and visualize the process to accomplish their dream. 

Some drafts of Nellie.

3D modelling and how to assemble the parts.

3D printed Nellie. .

The prototype

Companion APP

  • Completely separated from FW infrastructure

  • Full-stack-JS responsive development (NodeJS, MongoDB, React JS)

  • Rest API for devices communications

Hardware components: 

  • Particle Photon-based controlled Pony Bank

  • Native WiFi internet connection capabilities

  • Led lights for feedback effects

  • 2300 mAh battery for limited unplugged working support

  • Accelerometer for detecting movements

  • NFC chip for purchases simulation

Exterior part printed in 3D. Divided in 5 parts to facilitate the assembly.

What I learnt 

  • Always take pictures and store them properly. I was so immerse on this project trying to solve how to organise components inside, which were the best components to use and how to create a prototype that was going to be assembled in California (I was working in Buenos Aires), that I did not store properly the photos that I took with my phone. When I started writing the case I realised that there was a lot of valuable information that was lost. I couldn't even find the photos and videos of the final prototype. 

  • Always use a parametric software when designing a tangible interface. Iterating a 3D model that was not modelled on a parametric software is hell. Tools like Rhino are great for doing fast models but if you need to make changes on things like size it could be complicated and maybe you'll have to 3D model some parts again. If working with SolidWorks or plugins as Grasshopper this process is easier because you just need to change some parameters.

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