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Together Apart: Remote, Tangible Co-Design Technologies for Kids

Research Open House 2022

Amanda Huynh and Dr. Daniel Leithinger (CU Boulder)
Dr. Jason C. Yip, University of Washington
Casey Hunt, University of Colorado Boulder
School of Design, Industrial Design

Embodied physical play and design are at the heart of learning. However, this has all but been eliminated in online settings due to the separation and isolation of COVID-19 and the prevalence of online learning.

Specifically, children’s play, collaboration, interaction, and design with physical prototyping together with other children can hardly be done remote.

How do we design socio-technical support systems so that networks of children can engage together in collaborative, social, and embodied design?

gif of preparing play-doh to be cut, showing the steps to roll out a piece of neon green play-doh so that it is flat and then is cut into a rectangle measured on the grid of a mat.
Preparing the “laser cutting” sheet material with Play-Doh.

Through a series of live co-design sessions with kids, we prototyped activities and playful interactions to enable children to begin physically co-designing and co-playing across online spaces using tangible objects and digital tools.

An elephant sketch made of a thin string of neon green play-doh is on top of a grid mat with pieces of neon green play-doh off to the side.
Demonstrating 3D printing principles with Play-Doh.