Splat 3D

  • 2019

  • Product
    Sport and Lifestyle

Designed By:

  • Kylie Burrett
  • Glenn Lawrence

Commissioned By:

Kylie Burrett

Designed In:


The Splat is a powerfully simple 3D drawing tool. Perfect for STEAM projects and sponsored by Engineers Australia. The Splat fuses together geometric elements and creativity to help kids boost their spatial reasoning skills and design in 3D. Its affordable, Australian made and links directly to the Australian Curriculum.

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  • To improve primary students' spatial ability and design skills. Research supports that spatial ability, regardless of gender, is a learned skill that can be improved through practice for success in; engineering, medicine, architecture, and spatial computing ect. However, spatial ability still represents the largest of all gender differences in cognitive abilities. Drawing in isometric is recognized as one of the top 3 ways to improve this skill. The problem: complex and expensive isometric drawing equipment limited primary students accessing and developing their ability to draw in isometric. Until now math grid paper has been the only resource available for teachers.

  • The design solution had to allow primary aged students, to better access and develop this critical skill set. Over a 12 month period we researched, designed, 3D printed and tested different prototypes. These prototypes were then used in a classroom setting, with various aged primary children. We assessed these different design options against, function, gender uptake, intuitive use by target groups and manufacturing costs. The final tool (Splat) was pitched to Engineers Australia for an education grant. This covered 50% of our tooling costs, and their endorsement provided validity to our concept.

  • The Splat has been implemented by schools in QLD, WA, NT and NSW. It also retails in galleries and at Questacon. The tool will be used in an early engineers/design pilot program funded by NSW DoE STEM Industry Schools Partnerships (Term 3 2019). The Splat has also successfully featured in a outreach program in Vanuatu, where students had access to only paper and pencils. The potential for social impact is global. The low cost, portability and universal function of the tool allows students from diverse backgrounds, including remote communities to access and develop a future focused skill set.

  • The simplicity of the tool is one of it's primary features. To ensure adoption by teachers K-6 (predominately women) it was essential the design was gender neutral, easy to use and to clean, and allowed for explicit teaching of key concepts, with a real world integrated application. Recent trends in technology adoption have seen students key skills sets often outsourced to digital devices. Meaning when the digital tool is removed the skill and confidence to perform the task is lost. The focus of this design is to hard wire the neural pathways, associated the visual-spatial ability, within the student. Creating a transferable foundation skill set that can be applied in multiple context. Research supports the benefits of this on memory, recall, critical and creative thinking and advanced problem solving. To solve our global challenges we must teach our child future focused skills, including how to authentically design. For future focused educators, the Splat is training wheels for designing and innovating in 3D, a must for every child's pencil case.