Midterm Project Proposal – Leah, Elena, Ganesh

As a group we’re primarily looking at problem spaces related to storytelling for children, children’s education and games in general. Our objective is to create an enriching and playful environment that both adults and children can find use in and enjoy. After extensive brainstorming, we came up with 3 ideas that we are looking to explore further!

Idea 1 – Yuyay: #children #storytelling #education

A small container (according to Holmquist et al. definition) that preserves any of your thoughts and memories to share them with someone… or to keep them for your future self. With these devices we want to extol the value of our thoughts and memories by making a transition from the realm of abstraction to the world of tangibility. Additionally, by seizing this materiality, we aspire to foster meaningful human connections.

Imagine your family used these devices when you were growing up as a game to foster learning and conversation. Every container had a prompt or question associated with it, blue containers were science questions (e.g., why is the sky blue?), the purple ones were questions related to the family history (e.g., How did grandma and grandpa meet?), the red ones were personal questions (e.g., What was your favorite Christmas?), etc. Every other evening after dinner, you and your whole family would bring all the pieces to the table, select one of them, and then enjoy a very pleasant conversation. Once the questions were answered, your mom would give the devices to you and your siblings, so you could record new interesting and meaningful questions.

Now imagine that 15 years have passed by… Your mom brings an old box, opens it and there they are. You listen to your voice and the questions you used to ask. Your mom shares with you her beautiful memories of those days.

Given the unrestricted nature of these devices we envision many uses for them. You could use them during a game-night with your friends similarly to how you would play truth or dare, or as icebreakers in a meeting or conference (pairing up people and asking a question related to their common interests – based on simple questions asked during the registration process), or you could send a “secret” message to your significant other, or send pieces of a single message to different family members (the full message will only reveal itself when all of them are together), teachers could use them in the classroom to capture students’ doubts, etc.

Idea 2 – Pong Tribute: #games

Using a projector and your phone to run the projector, you can project a specialized Pong interface on a wall. This Pong interface is not run by conventional arrow keys but by each player throwing a ball onto the wall. As the ball hits the wall, the paddle for that player appears at that position helping you hit the digital ball on the wall. When the ball bounces back and the player catches it, the paddle disappears encouraging the player to throw the ball again. Using this simple concept, game mechanics can be further developed.

This is an AR concept and will require a projector and a camera to capture the location of the ball.

The idea is to also make this open-source so that grokkers and geeks come up with their own cool innovations from this basic building block. For example, you can introduce the notion of gravity on the game environment so that your paddle starts falling down as soon as it is cast. You can also think of using this kind of interface for not just pong but for solving grid-based 2D puzzles. You can even use physical manipulations such as combining pong with racquetball to form an altogether new game or as a training routine to practice your shot accuracy.

Idea 3 – Augmented Tools for Mathematics: #children #education

A ruler, protractor, compass, and perhaps other tools could be augmented as computational input devices. They could be used as a tangible interface, perhaps for LOGO or a digital geometry environment (DGE). A child could specify a distance on the ruler by pushing a sliding knob, set an angle on the protractor by rotating an arm, or set a radius and arc length on the compass. The computer could react in real time (or perhaps when the user pushes a “play” button) by moving a figure or on-screen stylus the corresponding distance, angle, or arc length. Sequences of moves could be stored on tokens on which users could draw identifying shapes or words.

Child motivations remain ill-defined. We could pose an initial challenge (navigating a maze, constructing a goal shape or scene) as a training task. How could we frame the interaction or display space to motivate further interaction and exploration?

Educational goals of these tools include:

  • Linking sometimes abstract virtual objects (distances and shapes) with the physical tools used to create those shapes in the real world
  • Promoting progressive quantification of children’s drawing/movement techniques with the goal that these movements and experiences could become resources for more formal work (as in math classes).
  • Comparing angles that are equal for example – making textbook figures talk by using gestures

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