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.
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.
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.
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.