Each Extraordinaire is a larger than life character with extraordinary needs. These needs come from their job like the Soldier, their physical appearance like the Giant or the environment they live in like the Merman.
The technique used in developing the characters is called 'Personas'. Personas are used by design and engineering professionals to empathise with the users of the products they are designing. A persona is a fictitious character, written to represent a group of users of the end product. They are used to help solve design questions in the development cycle.
Each Extraordinaire is a persona of an archetypal character that children will recognise. We have all read books and watched movies about pirates, wizards, fairies, robots and we can easily imagine the worlds they live in.
Each Extraordinaire is also an amplification of human needs. The Pirate has a hook hand - this is like someone with a physical disability or prosthesis. The Vampire Teen has to spend daylight hours indoors - this is like someone living with a medical condition. The Wizard needs a walking stick and glasses, just like many elderly people. By recognising the needs of the Extraordinaire characters, and inventing products for them, it is our hope that children will recognise when they are problem solving in the real world.