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IDEO Toy Lab Party Whistle
Who rocks the party? You’ll rock the party...with Party Whistle.

With Party Whistle, iPhone owners can celebrate whenever and wherever they want. Just blow into your iPhone’s microphone and enjoy the realistic sounds and animations of a party whistle. Party Whistle is filled with fun, little surprises that can transform the dullest occasion into a rocking whistle party!


• Entertaining party whistle animations and sounds
• Kick off the fun by simply blowing air into the iPhone microphone
• Enjoy on birthdays, graduations, office parties, New Year’s, or moments of solitude when meditation seems too dull
• Fun for kids of all ages
• Includes surprise animations and sounds

If you like Balloonimals, Koi Pond, Ocarina, Super Monkey Ball, Touchgrind, or Rolando, try Party Whistle.  
“The smile it brings to your face (and the way it freaks out the dog) are well worth the price.”
– Apptism

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“Watch me do it!”
- Christopher, age 4

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In late 2008, the Toy Lab observed a huge need for kid-centered iPhone apps, and our team - in a still ongoing experiment today - decided to enter into the app-making arena. Our time with children and their parents had helped us understand what interactions made the most sense when it came to the preschool set, ages 2 to 6.

In anticipation of our first app, we contemplated and then coded some basic triggers for kids to enjoy. One particularly fun trigger proved to be the act of blowing into the iPhone microphone to get a dramatic visual response.

With the basic code completed, we matched this action to classic kid themes and play patterns. What subjects would kids understand and eagerly engage with? What topics would parents approve of as a positive way to occupy their children? After several brainstorms, Party Whistle was the obvious choice as a simple, fun application that could arrive just in time for New Year's celebrations.

Party Whistle was created with stop-action animation and much teamwork. We captured still frames of individuals blowing on a real party whistle. We strung together these images, along with graphics that showed Party Whistle doing fantastical things like flying in circles and exploding into a cloud of confetti. With the addition of sound effects that mixed real whistle sounds with goats bleating and roosters crowing, Party Whistle went where no party whistle had ventured before.

The result? A whole new party favor that brings smiles to kids and adults alike! New Year’s may now be over (for now), but Party Whistle continues to get invited to birthdays, reunions, and anywhere needing to get a party started.
“The fact that the sound and even the way the whistle extends changes depending upon the power with which you blow -- remarkable."
- Apptism

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“Ooh, Mommy. Let’s do it again!”
- Michael, age 3
How Party Whistle was made slide 1: Pre-School focus group

Toy Lab’s first step in designing an iPhone app was to turn to the preschool set (2- to 6-year-olds) for help in understanding what’s fun and appropriate for this impressively precocious age group.

How Party Whistle was made slide 2: iPhone model blown up to kid-sized proportions

To better understand how an iPhone looks and feels to a preschooler, we did a quick and simple model of an iPhone blown up to kid-sized proportions.

How Party Whistle was made slide 3: Screen shot sketches

Images were laid out for the different screens before any actual coding took place. Fast sketches and notes made for fast iteration.

How Party Whistle was made slide 4: Capturing images, then adding sound and effects

The Party Whistle’s motion was captured through a series of individual photos that were strung together with additional graphics and sound.

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