Considering price of toy electronics usually are at accessible price, could be consider directly work into an animatronic piggy face that controls and retains changes on expression while accounting savings. Besides the interactive interface the piggy bank will require a control unit that supervises the incomes. So one could with this information create a sort of saving report.
Pursuing a delicate balance between aesthetics and functionality is key for consumer products. I see an opportunity in manufacturing an animatronic robotic face that is designed to deform a silicone or other natural rubber-like product, to create the gesture of the piggy face. Considering the cost of design could be amortized to a lot of production, the expense of using a toy capable robot mechanism to control the interface sounds viable and feasible to me. To this point I do not found viable the project as a open source but ¿wouldn’t be amazing if someone with deeper knowledge on this field contribute on how could it be feasible as an open source project (I found complicated from the point of view that the silicone piggy require a industrial manufacturing, so expenses on molds and injection process manufacturing are required). At least here could be a business idea and I’m willing to be part of it. Call me in ;)
Because the piggy bank will require an instrument to account incomes, that same system could be used to generate statistics as an added value of the product. This information could be sent via bluetooth or similar wireless media that does not increment considerably the final product price and there are aligned with the product strategy. Everyone that saves is interested in the saving data, right! This will be a fun way to encourage children to learn about finances.
Face animatronics (robotic mechanism) is one of the killer apps of animatronics developments. It is well documented how to move eyes, mouth, nose, etc. So adjusting a design to the project could be feasible to do. The idea will be to elaborate the cash flow to incorporate suppliers and come to a minimum viable production lot (after doing a pilot test). I forecast that a mechanism to physically manipulate piggy expression could increase cost by less than 4usd, something between two to three usd could be achieved. The input control unit to count savings will increase cost by another similar amount, there are standard coin counters that with the shape of the coin it controls which coin has been put in. Because this is a toy to learn something about finances, there is no need for a specialized hard to cheat money counting system. If the product will receive coins and bills further analysis should be made on this creative contribution.
So with the toy-like robotic mechanism attached to a natural rubber-like face whose thickness has been engineered, and with a coin counter electronic as an input device, the product will handle the expression interface and manage accounting statistics. Powered by standard batteries, designed for low power consumption and maybe some extra programming to handle end of battery information.
What do you think of these enhancements?