For Dick Liou, inspiration came while watching his children, ages eight and four, build a fort. The tools they had were traditional toys and materials, none of which Liou found very effective: they were either too hard, too small, had sharp corners, were difficult for the younger children to use, or were just not right.
So Liou decided to do something about it. He applied his formal education in human factors engineering to the task of making a great toy and came up with Aerobloks — giant, air-filled, see-through blocks. Big enough to make a tunnel that an eight-year-old can crawl through, yet simple enough that even a four-year-old can put two of them together without assistance. Kids, says Liou, love them. And it
This article originally appeared in The Ergonomics Report™ on 2004-12-15.