Apple Valley couple invents maze toy

Dan and Jessica Friedman built a Maze-O prototype at home using a 3D printer they purchased which melts down layers of plastic to build the maze blocks layer by layer. Jessica Friedman is pictured here with daughter Emily, 3, and son JZ, 5. (Photo submitted)

Dan and Jessica Friedman now looking to have Maze-O mass produced

First-time inventors Dan and Jessica Friedman are looking to bring their idea to a mass market. For the time being, though, their three kids are having a blast with it.

The Apple Valley husband and wife are the creators of Maze-O, a maze-building toy they dreamt up this past summer.

The Friedmans built a prototype of the toy – about 150 connectable maze blocks – at home using a 3D printer they purchased which melts down layers of plastic to build the Maze-O blocks layer by layer. They’re now in talks with a manufacturer to have Maze-O mass produced.

Jessica Friedman says some credit for the idea goes to their 5-year-old son, JZ.

“Our son began creating mazes out of blocks for his cars to drive through – he liked to create little passageways and dead ends,” she said.

“However, it took him a long time to build a simple maze and it was so easy to bump it and destroy all his work. We realized kids needed a way to build mazes.”

The couple’s background in computer science aided in the design process. Dan Friedman is employed in Bloomington as a software engineer; Jessica, now a stay-at-home mom, holds a computer science degree.

Their patent is pending for Maze-O, which is geared to children ages 4-8.

The Friedmans say the toy can be used as a child development tool, as it helps build spatial reasoning, problem solving and fine motor skills.

They’re hoping crowd funding through their Kickstarter.com campaign will generate the capital needed to manufacture and begin shipping Maze-O by the end of February. The couple’s Kickstarter goal is to raise $50,000 by Dec. 16.

“Everything’s lined up (with the manufacturer) – we just have to say ‘go,’ ” Jessica said.

More about the toy is at Maze-O.com.

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