V2 Studios
V2 Studios

Green means go!

Fast development of cognitive and motor skills in young children means that a great deal of development toys have a very limited lifespan. Great for the toy industry, but not so great for the planet and parents. V2 developed a range of RC vehicles which directly addresses these issues. Dynamic control settings allows the vehicle to grow as a child grows; plus the use of materials in manufacture are not only sustainable but also make a positive ecological contribution.

The primary material in these vehicles is cork. This gives the perfect buoyancy to boats, impact resistance to cars and lightweight bodies for planes. But our desire to use cork runs much deeper than functionality; we wanted to use this project to showcase cork’s immense ecological contribution. A contribution that is sadly being diminished as alternative methods of sealing wine bottles has seen the substantial deforestation of cork forests.

Cork trees stripped of their bark absorb and store enormous amounts of CO2, release more Oxygen, and protect the great biodiversity that inhabit their forests.

The seven million acres of cork forest around the Mediterranean offset 20 million tons of CO2 each year. Cork oak forests support one of the highest levels of biodiversity among forest habitats, as well as the highest diversity of plants found anywhere in the world. The trees naturally occur in mixed-plant woodlands and their root systems are excellent water regulators in this semi-arid landscape. They also anchor the soil and offer shade to the biodiverse species. The remaining 108,000 hectares of Portuguese cork oak forests are instrumental in preventing this region from turning into a dustbowl. As an advocate for cork-forest conservation, the World Wildlife Fund is working to protect these landscapes by promoting products from sustainably managed cork-oak forests.

Evolving interaction

These vehicles are programmed in three stages that add functionality and different play patterns as the child masters each skill, from learning the difference between left and right, to precise manoeuvring at high speeds. Beginner mode; hold down button to travel at a set speed of 1mph and with reduced sensitivity of steering as you tilt the controller left and right. Intermediate mode gives you variable speed control of up to 7mph with increased steering sensitivity. Pro mode can reach speeds of 15mph with sensitive steering control and braking.

This self-initiated project was born from direct insight from over 15 years of working with the toy industry. All prototyping and testing including 3D printing and electronics programming was undertaken in-house. Its sustainability was maintained throughout the project with all plastic parts made from 100% post-consumer recycled high density polyethylene with 100% recyclable packing printed with soy based dyes.

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