Students Exhibit Interactive Environments

Students from the Interactive Environments minor are exhibiting their final projects, creative spaces aimed at improving the lives of children diagnosed with cancer.

Sponsored by the Princess Maxima Center for Children’s Oncology, three groups of students spent five months creating prototypes of their designs. Currently, hospitals which treat children with cancer are spread throughout the Netherlands. The Center will combine the seven current oncological facilities into a single location and is seeking ways to improve the experience of the children treated there.

Project coordinator Aadjan van der Helm saw an opportunity for the students to help children receiving treatment. “As medical science has improved the survival rate of children with cancer, other problems have developed. Children who are in the hospital for extended periods miss significant amounts of school, causing lags in their academic and social development,” he explains. The student projects aim to reduce these development delays.

The exhibition featured three final projects. Lumo, a large wooden spiral, included lights activated by touch and sound. The concept of the space is to act as ice breaker for teenages to encourage them to hang out.

Another project featured a series of suspended handles attached to pulleys. Populley is designed to be a play environment for children. When you pull on a handle, an attached handle changes position, and also activates lights and sound.

The final project, titled Vox, demonstrated a two part installation. First, there is a giant, plastic, boulder-shaped interaction point. Upon admission to the hospital, children receive the second component, called a VoxBox. The softball-sized block fits into various parts of the interaction point. On the box, children can record sounds and share them through the interaction point.

Kiki Ottenhof (Industrial Design), of Vox, became interested in creating a space which would encourage children to get out of bed and interact with one another. “After visiting the hospital, we could see that it was very difficult for the children to leave their beds. We wanted to give them a tool to serve as an icebreaker so they would get up and play with the other children.”

The Interactive Environments minor is an opportunity for Bsc students to work on an interdisciplinary team for five months in order to help them choose a Masters program. The exhibition is on display in the Central Hall of the Industrial Design building until January 31, 2013.