We have also been working on a number of projects with more tangible play installations, such as Tug o’War over the internet and interactive play for people with Profound Multiple and Intellectual Disabilities; many of these concern health and therapy related applications.
We have built and implemented a set of metaphors for breathing games by involving children and experts. These games are made to facilitate prevention of asthma exacerbation via regular monitoring of children with asthma through spirometry at home. To instruct and trigger children to execute the (unsupervised) spirometry correctly, we have created interactive metaphors that respond in real-time to the child's inhalation and exhalation. Eleven metaphors have been developed in detail. Three metaphors have been fully implemented based on current guidelines for spirometry and were tested with 30 asthmatic children. Each includes multi-target incentives, responding to three different target values (inhalation, peak expiration, and complete exhalation). We postulate that the metaphors should use separate goals for these targets, have independent responses, and allow to also go beyond expected values for each of these targets. From the selected metaphors, most children preferred a dragon breathing fire and a soccer player kicking a ball into a goal as a metaphor; least liked were blowing seeds of a dandelion and applying lotion to a dog to grow its hair. Based on this project we discuss the potential and benefits of a suite-of-games approach: multiple games that each can be selected and adapted depending on personal capabilities and interests.
People with Profound Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities suffer from severe intellectual and physical disabilities. This limits them from participating in many active and engaging activities. The BLOX project uses technology to offer new physical and playful interactive experiences for these people, in which they should be able to take initiative in play. We carried out a user study with 9 participants, 10 sessions with the ball each. Although many participants did not show a clear difference or clearly positive reaction to the ball, some participants were more active or alert or showed more signs enjoyment when playing with ball, compared to watching TV.
The setup consists of a pair of rope pulling boxes, connected to each other via the internet. When you pull the rope, the other person immediately feels this through their own rope: touch at a distance! This interface is used in a collaborative game in which two people control the same egg-catching basket from one side each, moving it left and right to catch as many eggs as possible. A user study showed that social presence is enhanced by rope interface, but only if player actually feels the other’s “touch” as force feedback on the rope.
Tangible interactive games are used for repetitive training of upper limbs in the therapy of children with Cerebral Palsy (CP). Four games were created that trigger different kinds of to-be-trained movements in a motivating and entertaining way. A physical quiz game was especially successful as children kept on playing the game making the proper movements without additional encouragement or instructions of the therapists or researchers.