Do you want to Play?
Play is an important aspect of a child’slife through which a child develops social, emotional and cognitive skills. Play should therefore be a central aspect within the development of a child. With play there is Open- Ended Play which is a form of play in which there are no predefined game rules and/or goals. The players are able to create their own games with their own rules and goals. They have the opportunity to bring their own creativity into the play. Computer and video games allow children to learn and develop. The increase of technologies to improve the quality of life however, has also a negative side effect, people interact less face to face with each other. Furthermore, the increase of video and computer games also results in a lack of sufficient movement resulting in more overweight.
During my research project previous semester I learned more about the differences of child development concerning play. This project is build upon the knowledge gained during my previous project and will be expand with knowledge about Open-Ended Play for different age groups of children within elementary school.
The ultimate goal of my graduation project is to design intelligent play objects which persuade social interaction between children of different age groups.
My Final Master Project consists out of two parts: a research part on open ended play for multiple age groups combined with different feedback modalities, and a design part to translate my research into an open ended play design enhancing social interaction through physical activities. The research tool created for the research part of the project consists out of four stand alone, ring shaped objects which including three different feedback modalities; vibration, light and sound. Through infrared a communication can be created between two or more objects.
Research: Phantastic Portals
The Phantastic Portals Project is a spin-off of the Intelligent Playground Project in which the Flowsteps are developed. These are interactive stepping stones, designed to stimulate children to create their own outdoor games and play. (Valk, 2012) The Flowstep stepping-stones are essentially two dimensional objects which in certain ways limits the interaction possibilities. Within the Phantastic Portals Project the goal was to look at the possibilities of interaction with three dimensional objects.
During the research I focused on the differences within child development concerning play. This through exploration of the difference in play to develop portal based, open ended play objects with which children of different ages can have a rich play experience which suits with their own preferences of play. Within literature the development stages of children are discussed as well as products designed for children, however not often are the differences in the development stages combined with designing products for children. Especially designing products for a larger age group supporting those differences.
These different age groups are children of the age of thee till six, seven till nine and ten till twelve. Each of these groups has their own development within physical, cognitive, social and emotional skills which influences the interaction opportunities for these groups. The tool designed allowed to learn more about the difference within child development when testing multiple interaction scenarios with the different age groups.
Play is an important aspect of a child's life through which a child develops social, emotional and cognitive skills. Play should therefore be a central aspect within the development of a child.
This project was about the development of social skills of children identified with autism through play. The uniqueness of autism for each person makes designing more complicated. Because of the uniqueness within autism is it difficult to focus on the development of certain social skills through play in general. To reach more autistic children the design not focus on social skills in particular, the design should intent to provoke interaction between multiple users. Interaction creates multiple opportunities to learn social skills depending on the needs and the abilities of the user.
The Toy called Snakes
The Snake has become play object which allows children to use their own imagination, creativity and ability to play with it and to intends provoke interaction between multiple children. The hidden element of The Snake
creates the opportunity to use The Snake as a learning tool between an autistic child and a caregiver. Using The Snake within a game setting the caregiver can use The Snake to steer and teach social skills through play.
The Snake can be used within different levels of play, ranging from cuddling to creating a complete story based game around The Snake.
The Snake is an object which can be seen as a play object for children with autism which creates opportunities for interaction between multiple children who play on different levels of play. The Snake is also an object which
can be seen as a tool for caregiver to steer or teach social skills through play.
The client Kompan undertook an international study into teenagers and their play cultures, focusing on teenage girls between 12 till 16 years old . Most teenagers feel too old to play in a play ground. Instead, they hang around (hangjongeren is a well known, biased term in The Netherlands). During the research of Kompan it came out that girls within this age category are still willing to play but they feel too old to play in the existing playgrounds. On the other hand girls also wants socializing with the boys. There are not enough playgrounds or equipment which offer girls this opportunity.
The brief which is provided by Kompan and the Technische Universiteit was to design a piece of play equipment which offers girls between the age of 12 till 16 to play, being active and also give them the opportunity to have a comfortable place to sit.
An object which will give girls the opportunity in playing, being active and creative, but also the opportunity to socialize in a more comfortable way. This is translated in an equipment called the Wiggle which consists out of a half sphere on which for example can be balanced. This together with an other structure consisting out of balls and tubes on which can be balanced or sit to socialize. By bringing the half sphere out of balance a color can be determined and will be send to the outer structure.
Monitoring Body Temperature of a Newborn Baby
Critically ill or premature new born infants (also known as Neonates) have to be monitored constantly. Currently the data of the body temperature is provided by wired thermistors that are attached with a sticker to the skin of the baby to monitor the body temperature. These wired thermistors are sensitive to disturbance and are uncomfortable for the infant, nurses and parents. This project is about providing accurate body temperature data in a comfortable way. This will enhance the infants' quality of life in the sense of comfort, the ease to work with the material for the nurses and visual improvement for the parents.
The final concept of this project is a soft belt made out of bamboo fabric, which is anti bacterial and very soft textile. A small temperature sensor (2mm x 3mm) is incorporated into this belt. There are no hard wires in the belt, only a flexible and soft conductive textile wire. To give the belt have a pleasant look, a happy frog is woven into the fabric.
Most of the children have a special toy, a toy which they have when they go bed and if the toy does not come to bed with them they cannot sleep. Some of those children caring their toy all day with them, other children only need their toy when they go to bed. During the period of which a child gets attached to a toy, the emotional development of the child is during that period also very important. Therefore a toy is designed to which a child can be attached to and which creates an experience to teach children how to deal with emotions or how to express emotions.
The experience will be created by interaction between the child and the object and between the object and the child. A kind of loop of which an object reacts on the emotions of the child and the child can react back. Popo should help the child understanding emotions and give comfort.
When the child is sad and grasp Popo and starts to keep the toy very close it start to warm up. Because Popo becomes warmer it is easier for the child to transform Popo in a different form. This helps the child to express emotions. When the child does not use Popo, Popo becomes colder and colder again and stiffer, which makes transforming Popo much more difficult. If the child does not play with Popo for a while the toy with get slowly back to the original form. When the child takes Popo and does not hug the toy but start squishing it, Popo will become angry by start shaking very hard. If the child is playing with Popo, it will be warm too.
Designing for User Experience
The module ’Designing for User Experience’ was a six week module that was a part of a design competition by Microsoft. During this module we worked on the assignment ’Making data more useful for the people who generate this data’. Within this broad subject we focused on how we can give back data to those who generate it, in our case the children, in a meaningful and playful way. Based on conversations with teachers we learned that children should not get information about their development directly, as it could lead to bullying. That is why we found our way into creating an interaction that could allow children to play while making use of their datasets in order to support their development. Through different moments of user involvement the concept Luna was created.
Luna is a personal object which the children use throughout the year, or perhaps their entire elementary school period. Each child has a Luna in its drawer which can be used to form pairs. To ensure that one child does not try to connect with all classmates, all Luna’s will light up in one of four different colors. The children have to search for a companion whose Luna’s lights up in the same color. This ensures that is stays manageable, understandable and not time consuming, however remaining fun and playful to connect. By using Luna with different games, children can feel that they belong in the classroom, increasing their opportunity to interact with other children, make new friends and learn from each other. Triggered by curiosity (who will be my match?), children are willing to use Luna. Their personal object will guide them towards the children they have to play with. Feedback from children gained during research was used in the design of this interaction. As one of them proposed, the action of finding the match could be reinforced by attracting and repelling forces and by the use of lights. Additionally, the games give a free moment to children to play without concerns just enjoying the time and bonding with others. The games are open and fluctuating tempo of the lights on the ball allow children to create their own rules.
Operation of Luna is simple and open for them to make new rules within the games. The personal object provides a grip area so they can walk to different children in the search of their match. This one is indicated by an attracting force and lighting LEDs that make the two objects form a ball. With this ball they can start to play persuading children to cooperate and communicate with each other in order to develop their skills and master the game.
Activating your Innovation Radar
The assignment of this module was initiated by the town Bladel with the goal to get fragile elderly more active in society. By involving elderly in activities in a facility center, the town wants to extend the independent living of the elderly. In this project the town Bladel is working together with Zuidzorg, Vrienden van de Thuiszorg and GOW Welzijnswerk.
The challenge in this project was to motivate the fragile elderly to go to the facility center. By sensing the stakeholders and the user group, the current struggles for these parties were explored. After visualizing and mapping these struggles, design opportunities were created which resulted in 'MOCA'. MOCA is a tablet application that will motivate fragile elderly to join the activities in the facility center of Bladel.
Hospitalization of both children and adults is most of the times an unpleasant experience. For children this mostly means an experience of fear, anxiety, pain and fun.
This project was about creating a chair for children within the oncology department of the Catherina Hospital in Eindhoven, with the aim to design a chair which provides comfort and the feeling of privacy in combination with a more playful and customizable environment.
The Seggio Chair has become a comfortable chair which provides the feeling of privacy; however the construction of the chair is still open allowing the medical treatment to continue and contact with other people in the room. The wooded construction of the chair becomes greener when changing the angle of looking from the side towards the front of the chair, creating a more playful aspect in the chair. This occurs because the sides of the ribs are colored except for the sides on the far left and right. The customizable environment is created through lights placed in the top of the chair allowing the child to customize the chair by changing the color and intensity of these lighting. Furthermore the chair allows children to sit comfortable and perform different activities with the use of a touchscreen and speaker which are integrated within the rounded extensions at the upper part of the chair. The chair can be used in an active position, however when a child wants to sleep or sit more within a laying position the chair can be pulled backward to create a more passive position to sit.
To provide the right support for different children of different ages, two cushion are provided with the chair, one providing a C-curved support for the younger children and one providing a lower lumbar support for the older children.