Lise and Wendy presented their paper “Dancing in data: Representation, repetition and recreation” and the inaugural Movementis Conference at the Oxford University Examination Rooms this week. Although the conference had a scientific bias, the paper received very positive feedback from those who appreciated the need for a “human” approach to movement research
Wendy and Lise Hansen presented a paper entitled Conceptualising Kinesthesia – Making Movement Palpable at the European Academy of Design conference in Rome http://www.designfornext.org/index.html. The motivation for the paper, and a new network of collaborators is to reconnect with the sensuous, experiential nature of movement, to visualize data in a move away from the conceptual and concrete towards a more subjective, expressive medium. Rather than perceiving data as remote and dispassionate, we are interested in addressing a gap in the research that considers movement as autotelic, flowing in response to a heightened bodily and kinesthetic awareness. You can read our paper Conceptualising Kinesthesia here.
In response to a lot of interest recently in the original ReacTickles, Joel and I have been working on re-creating them for the web, so they will run from your browser, rather than having to load and install a CD.
In July I gave a talk for in London at the ESRC Shaping Autism Research seminar, which focused on “Doing research well: Building a participatory framework for autism research”. I showed some early videos of ReacTickles in the presentation, and was approached by Dr.Ginny Russell, to ask whether ReacTickles could be included in the Exploring Diagnosis project. I also presented ReacTickles at my inaugural professorial lecture “Leave Out Everything Except the Magic which reminded me of how important the research that led to ReacTickles was for understanding the role of technology in inclusion.
Thanks to the Exploring Diagnosis project for helping to fund the new ReacTickles work. We were delighted that a number of our software applications have been used in the film workshops, we are now experimenting to make all our applications available and free to use on the web.
Here are our first new ReacTickles 3, ReacTickles for web, there are more on the way. Joel has also released the code, describing the bugs and fixes in detail.
Bouncing Circles, use your keyboard to explore speed, position and pressure
Springy Circles, use your mouse to explore elasticity
Keyboard Worm, use your keyboard to explore velocity.
The team at Egenis, Exeter University have been working with ReacTickles Magic and Somantics as part of their project, Exploring Diagnosis. Funded through the Wellcome Trust, the project team have been running animation workshops with adults on the autism spectrum and film production company Calling the Shots. Most exciting has been the interest in the original ReacTickles, and as a result Joel has been busy creating some fantastic web based ReacTickles, which we will be releasing very soon.
We made some lovely new discoveries for Somantics when we participated in the Fun Palaces weekend, organised by artist Terry Chinn. Using a light sabre as an input device generated some gorgeous, distinctive patterns with Kaleidoscope, which contrasted with the more subdued mix of human body patterns.
Terry set up a large sheet as a screen for shadow puppets. When the kinect camera picked up the movement of the puppets with Sparkles a magical effect was created around the puppets as they moved, adding an extra layer of drama to the puppet theatre. This is the essence of Fun Palaces, here is their manifesto:
WE BELIEVE IN THE GENIUS IN EVERYONE, IN EVERYONE AN ARTIST AND EVERYONE A SCIENTIST, AND THAT CREATIVITY IN COMMUNITY CAN CHANGE THE WORLD FOR THE BETTER.
WE BELIEVE WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER, LOCALLY, WITH RADICAL FUN – AND THAT ANYONE, ANYWHERE, CAN MAKE A FUN PALACE.
We had great fun at the Inc summer workshop this week. Following a series of drama games that focused on movement based semiotics we set up the latest version of Somability in the large drama studio. We mainly used Flow, trying it out in each of the different display modes: Mirror, Skeleton, Silhouette and Invisible. Surprisingly, although the Mirror mode was great for initially grabbing attention, Invisible provided the most dynamic range of movements as the performers intentionally sought to extend the effects through proximity, speed and flow.
This is our first CHI conference, and taking part in the Workshops has been a great introduction to a packed schedule of events. In small groups we presented Method Stories for Involving People with Impairments in Design, which opened up discussions revealing the lack of inclusivity in the way we publish and present our work. The debate was lively and supportive, the Somatopia project was very well received, and it was particularly rewarding to hear other people’s genuine desire to promote inclusivity within their work. Great to at last meet Professor David Brown from Nottingham University, and to find synergies in both our approaches. Also really good to meet up with friends from the ECHOES project. Chris Frauenberger’s talk “Designing Smart Objects with Autistic Children: Four Design Exposès“, demonstrated that there some really excellent design principles emerging in autism research.
“Sound Clips is designed to augment story time with sounds! Travel to the darkest jungle or the deepest reaches of space at just the touch of a button! Sound clips creates the sound, you imagination does the rest!”
Our latest application, Sound Clips has just launched in the iOS App Store. Designed in collaboration with Hellicar&Lewis and the Discover Story Centre, the app allows for the sequencing of sound effects using the iPad itself as well as triggering via Estimote Stickers.
This one-day conference brought a diverse range of speakers and delegates together to share research, practical experiences and ideas for technological innovation. Jamie and Lion set the tone for understanding the impact of technology in day-to-day living – for communication, work and leisure.
Our talk offered a journey through our experiences of developing software, focusing on Attention, Perception, Feedback, Repetition and Flow. We used this opportunity to launch the first release of Somatopia, which aims to bridge the gap between genuine innovation and end users who are disenfranchised through perceptions of disability and lack of resources (human and technological).
We hope that by making the software, code and instructions for designing Somatopia apps available to download, Somatopia will appeal to enthusiasts with expert knowledge, and those who enjoy making and tinkering with technology. See more on the Somatopia page.
Wendy has been in Melbourne, Australia during November, sharing both the Somatopia and Somability projects with Scope Victoria, and presenting at the prestigious 50th Anniversary ASID conference. Both events have led to connecting and sharing ideas with some fantastic people, especially excited to meet up with Sensorium Theatre, Perth, and Back to Back Theatre in Melbourne. There is a link to the presentation ASID slides, with the images extracted.
Great to share insights and experiences of the “flow state” with Damian Milton at the first NAS design and autism conference. From the earliest days of designing ReacTickles we noticed how anxiety reduced and happiness increased when children were absorbed in their flow of interest, so it was fantastic to hear Damian’s view on this.
Last Tuesday we completed the last of three workshops with young people from the Noah’s Ark children’s hospice as well as their siblings and parents. Once again we were hosted by the amazing team at artsdepot.
As before, we co-designed interactive “happiness machines” all day – as well as demonstrating the freshly updated Somantics iOS app to Mums and Dads and younger visitors.
Here it is at last, the latest version of Somantics for iOS 8.3. Many thanks to Marek and James!
We are thrilled to announce that following interviews with the judges we reported on in a recent blog, Somability is one for three finalists in the “Better outcomes through working together” category of the 2015 Accolade Awards. Today the film crew interviewed staff and service users at Rhondda Cynon Taf, Gadlys Learning Curve in preparation for the Awards ceremony at Cardiff City Hall on Thursday, 18 June.
We had a great time co-designing interactive artworks with young people from the Noah’s Ark children’s hospice at artsdepot. Using the fabulously accessible Touch Board from Bare Conductive. The participants collaborated in teams to bring their favourite things to life by adding their own sounds to drawings. The culmination of the workshop was a set of paper-prototype “happiness machines” that included tickling, laughter, jokes, music and other references to the things in life that make us happy.
First ever Cariad Interactive Somatopia Lab in Cardiff FabLab. Four teachers, two pupils and a technical demonstrator joined us for a rich mix of acting, moving, paper prototyping and storyboarding based on five Somatopia themes. Everyone set up their own Raspberry Pi, Pi camera and microphone and learnt how to use openframeworks to create a range of interactions triggered by sound and motion. The best part was getting to work up some of the ideas that emerged for learning some basic code.
We are very excited to be able to work with Microsoft on porting our Somability project to the latest KinectV2 for Windows – more on that effort next week. James and I had a great time at the recent #KinectHackLondon event, where we saw some great projects created using a variety of software platforms.
Lots of people have been emailing us to say the camera feature on Somantics for iPad has stopped working. The problem is with the IoS 8 upgrade. At the moment Somantics is not available on IoS 8, although we are working on this. The desktop version still works perfectly. Bear with us, we will have this resolved as soon as we can.
After many months of design and development with our friends at Rhondda Cynon Taf, Somability version one is now free for you to download. At this stage we are offering a Windows version which needs a Kinect camera.
Inspired by What the Body Does Not Remember, performed by Ultima Vez, we used some of the Raspberry Pi prototypes to try out themes of risk and relationships. The young dancers worked with Tamsin Griffiths and Cariad Interactive at the Sherman Theatre over three days to deliver a totally energetic and compelling performance.
The our hard work in rehearsals and development paid off and everyone rose to the occasion. Each of the sequences – Call and response, Flow, Mirror and Space – enabled the performers to reach new levels of dynamic interaction. The Raspberry Pi delivered, thanks to James and we are now preparing to use the code with some new partners in SEN schools in South Wales. We will be back at Arts Depot on 25th and 26th April, working on a new project with Noah’s Ark children’s hospice.
Last Sunday we headed off to Arts Depot in Finchley for the first of our Clive workshops. We began our session with a percussive warm-up and revisited some of our favourite ReacTickles Magic Apps, Expand and Orbit. Everyone enjoyed seeing the effects of their actions, adding lovely flowing movements, using Somantics Sparkles, Kaleidoscope, and Silhouette, simultaneously exploring speed, direction and body parts. Everyone responded positively to our new Somatopia concepts for Raspberry Pi. The group contributed some great ideas for the themes we are proposing: Cause and Effect, Flow and Space. Already, there is excitement for the performance on the 21st Feb.
Beginning on 18th January, we are running workshops with Arts Depot. The workshops will be a pilot for developing our resources for Somatopia – and a test bed for inclusion by inviting adults with LDs to take part in weekly activities that culminate in them choreographing and presenting a performance using interactive digital artworks.
This is an introduction to our new project, which is a partnership with Cariad Interactive, Raspberry Pi, Cardiff Metropolitan University and a number of schools and Arts Organisations, which will be described in regular blog posts.
The overarching aim of Somatopia is use the inherent accessibility of RaspberryPi as an inclusive design tool for enabling young people with a wide range of abilities to co-create interactive artworks.
Our idea is to generate computing modules that use the RaspberryPi as a creative platform for inclusive, experimental artworks. The unique context for this project, which sets it apart from its competitors, is that it foregrounds participatory design methods, bringing novice developers together with potential beneficiaries throughout the project lifecycle. The outputs of this process are expected to be creative, experimental interfaces that can be scaled to suit any environment. Significantly, these outputs must embody inclusivity, permitting personal and social interaction to emerge through bodily (soma) exploration.
At a more ambitious level, when we have fully tested Somatopia with existing partners, we will widen participation in the project by working with local school pupils. Although our primary group would be those studying WJEC (CBAC) GSCE Computer Science or WJEC (CBAC) GCE Computing, we are also interested in widening participation to other subjects and have approached the Heads of two local schools keen to explore inter-disciplinarily collaboration and hybridity. Working with Raspberry Pi, we will test the feasibility Somatopia as a method for enriching the learner experience of inclusivity and accessibility in Human Computer Interaction (HCI).
Keay-Bright, W. (2014) Towards Independence: Using motion sensing technologies to amplify the abilities of adults with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties, Recent Advances in Assistive Technology & Engineering, RAatE 2014
RAatE 2014 is the only UK conference focused on the latest innovations and developments in assistive technology (AT).
It was in at the deep end for me as I haven’t touched any real programming since my experiments with Lingo! The Pi team were great, we covered so much ground in two days, but the best thing was getting to grips with the Pi Camera. Thanks to Carrie Ann for the book “Adventures in Raspberry Pi“. This book is great for getting started.
More on Somatopia in the next few months but the aim is use the inherent accessibility of RaspberryPi to teach people how to co-create interactive artworks.
We will start by migrating some of the most popular aspects of ReacTickles, Somantics, Somability and Somatopia over the RaspberryPi, and then experiment with developing some simple coding modules to allow others to generate their own experimental artworks.
Most importantly we will create resources that help people to visualise their ideas. The methods we will demonstrate are based on human centred, participatory design, encouraging novice developers to imagine and test without having to go any where near a line of code. To quote Pete, “Technology is not an idea”.
A celebratory event was held on 11th November in the Wales Millennium Centre. The event constituted a brief introduction to the project, followed by a dance performance and “open mic”, where members of the audience could join in. The public stage was adapted for wheelchair users and guests from academia, the arts, service provision, Welsh Assembly Government, RCT local authority, and the media. The performers from the Gadlys Centre, together with Zoe from Artis Community, were very relaxed and moved with ease. The more formal, choreographed, introductory dance was followed by approximately half an hour of service user led pieces, some individual and some collaborative. Everyone enjoyed themselves, so much so that the WMC has invited us back to do an even bigger performance. Congratulations everyone!
The Sherman Theatre hosted the first Vision 21 drama and dance summer school last week. Cariad joined Morgan Thomas and Tamsin Griffiths in co-creating a moving performance that incorporated drawing, acting, puppetry and dance. We revisited Somantics as a method of engaging the group, working at times with individuals but, wherever appropriate, using the interface to tease out some of the narratives emerging though the different activities. We also modified some of the early Somability prototypes as a backdrop for actors as they performed their scenes. Everyone had a lot of fun; by the end of the week the group were confident in improvising and sharing their creations, openly inviting each other to join in. There was a real buzz of excitement for the showback
On Friday we celebrated the end of a truly wonderful term of dance and improvised interaction with Somability. The True Colours Gadlys group, gracefully performed work in progress under the guidance of Zoe and Linzi. All the friends and family in the audience were openly moved. This led the way to showcase the unique interactions and collaborations that Somability has enabled, as each service user independently used the technology without instruction.
Monday evening the Sherman Theatre opened its doors to friends and family for our end of term Showback. The Superhero narrative was written and performed by the members of the Inclusive Theatre group, expertly steered by Morgan, Jay and Cheryl. Somability provided the backdrop for the flying scenes, the super hero machine and the finale, as good and evil are united in friendship.
Watch this space for “Stuck in the Mud“, our next inclusive theatre production in August.
Compelling Somability Dance performance from Rhonnda Cynon Taf Skills for Independence and Artis Community. True improvisation, demonstrating the joy of visceral engagement emerging through actions rather than plans. Kath’s narrative put the experience into context as she described how the project has been transformative for service users, providing the key to new friendship and independence.
“Awareness of our own rhythms, our movement style, our repertoire and range, is crucial.”
Cultural Patterning of Movement and Meaning: Knox, C. 1992, p172.
Check out Digital Innovation Week Wales
Our presentation at DIWW, “Dancing with [co] Design”, will focus on the potential of camera and projection technologies to extend the typical, sometimes limited, range of movements among people with profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) in their day service settings. We will describe our co-creation methods for Somability, and how we are now visualising and generating graphical representations of body movement in real time.
The event takes place at the iconic Wales Millennium Centre, Weston Studio. To enrich the experience of digital innovation, we have invited our partners in Somability to offer a preview of work in progress. This short performance with the True Colours dance group, aims to reveal the poignancy and sensitivity of the relationship between carers and service users with profound disabilities, and to invite the audience to reflect on their own experience of participation.
Dancing with [co] Design will be introduced by Marek and Wendy. The Somability sequence will be performed by True Colours, co-ordinated by Zoe Martin and Linzi Robinson from Artis Community with service users from Rhondda Cynon Taf Skills for Independence.
Cariad Interactive presented work in progress at RE.WORK as part of London Technology Week. The question for participants was “how will emerging technologies and innovation impact the future of education?”. Our presentation began with a quote from Fals Borda, (1995) “do not monopolise your knowledge nor impose arrogantly your techniques, but respect and combine your skills with the knowledge of the researched or grassroots communities, taking them as full partners and co-researchers” to explain our approach toward community co-creation. Ending with a quote from Brenda Laurel (2003) which nicely captures our methods, including paper prototyping “…to design objects and experiences that enable people to perform themselves somewhat differently in those same situations-with greater pleasure, ease and agency”.
The Sherman Theatre Creative Learning team invited us to stage some of the Somability and Somantics prototypes in the foyer to coincide with Easter holiday events for children and the Inclusive Theatre Group. The prototypes needed no introduction as the groups were able to join in freely and explore independently. The only problem was the light, streaming in through the large windows on possibly the sunniest day of the year so far.
The Michael Sobell Centre, provided the venue for our first Somability sharing session, choreographed beautifully by dance coordinators from the Artis Community True Colours group, Zoe Martin and Linzi Robinson. When I arrived, the computer and Kinect were all set up, and the performers from the Gadlys Learning Curve were in rehearsal. Elegant sequences of expressive dance led to sustained concentration and experimentation with Somability, initially in Flow and Effects mode. For some service users, Balance in Silhouette mode proved compelling as they were able to easily detect their own bodies represented by the simple graphics. Ideas flowed for the next stage of development, both in terms of the design and the choreography. Importantly for this project, there was a strong sense of inclusion, and the commitment to involve more service users within Gadlys and other RCT Centres.
Following a very successful paper prototyping workshop at the Gadlys Learning Curve last November, the Cariad Interactive team spent two days last week trying early technology prototypes. Learning Curve support staff, led by Kath Ritchie, together with Angharad Lee from the Sherman Inclusive Theatre group and Zoe Martin from Artis Community, contributed ideas based on four broad themes, inspired by Laban’s movement analysis. Weight, space, time and togetherness were explored in the context of how service users may be able to extend their range of movement and expressive communication within the community centre setting.
So last week we put the ideas to the test, setting up the prototypes on the new Novatec laptops, and using Kinect as a motion capture input device. During the first session, at Gadlys, all the service users had a chance to try out Somability in the main room. Everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun and the range of movements were dynamic and exaggerated. As the goal of the project is to “make movement irresistible” we were all delighted at the level of engagement and peer interaction.
After some overnight modifications to the interface, the action continued for a second day, using a nearby hall which provided significantly more space. This was especially helpful when we had three wheelchair users, other peers and carers all interacting together. Leah McLaughlin, CARIAD, did an amazing job at capturing the sessions, which were reviewed by a small focus group, together with the carers, Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Joel and Marek are now moving forward with our prototypes, adding new modes for graphically interpreting body shape, mirroring and cause and effect; Pete is busy making proposals for the interface aesthetics.
Marek and I delivered a novel paper prototyping workshop together at the Arts Council of Wales Annual Conference. This technique, pioneered by Joel and Pete, challenged delegates to design simple prototypes for a “creative future” smile detector application. There were 50 delegates, divided into 10 teams, with only 45 minutes to create a paper prototype for their concepts. All the teams rose to the occasion, and managed to explain their ideas in less than a minute, with smile powered cars, air travel (air smiles!) and charity collections, raising smiles all around.
We are thrilled to announce that our project, Somability, which is being hosted with Cardiff School of Art and Design and co-design partners, Rhondda Cynon Taf Skills for Independence with Artis Community, has been awarded funding through the Rayne Foundation. The ideas for Somability came about following a design Lab that we ran with adults with learning difficulties, which involved them taking part in stimulating, creative, movement activities in their day care settings. Our experiences from the lab inspired us to try to find ways to offer these communities access to recreational activities that use the same affordable technologies as the wider population, with musicality and rhythmic, dynamic movement as the primary mode of expression. We are grateful to Tim Leroy at Novatec for donating laptops and Andrew Spooner at Microsoft for donating Kinect cameras.
The iconic Senedd building in Cardiff provided the setting for a Cariad Interactive paper prototyping workshop with the Gesture-based Professional Learning Community (PLC). Neil Mendoza took on the tricky programming task, while Pete encouraged participants to quickly communicate ideas on paper. The PLC added some interesting ingredients and challenges for the interaction designers, as they playfully explored how rhythm could enrich the learning environment of young people with severe learning difficulties. The winning pitch resonated inclusivity, showing that an inclusive design is something that can excite all of us.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of Alex Jones, we set up Somantics on the iPad and desktop with a projector at the Danybryn Leonard Cheshire home. Somantics Sparkles worked well with wheelchairs moving closer and further away, and even limited facial actions brought the interface to life. We created some very dynamic sweeping movements using lightweight batons and Windmills, although Kaleidoscope was definitely the favourite, triggering lots of laughter and peer to peer encouragement.
This ideation phase of Enfys has focused gaining vital inspiration for interaction design, to ensure that it is developmentally appropriate and usable in the playgroup setting. The first visits to the Cylch Meithrin Playgroups provided vital contextual information and enabled us to get to know the playgroup leaders and peer-to-peer dynamic. An extensive literature review alerted us to key factors that must be considered when designing for children, regardless of technology. In our early sketches we have been attentive to the role of adults in scaffolding the child’s learning, the importance of structure and collaboration, the use of objects and materials, the sensory environment, and the benefits of rhythmic actions in language development.
Kontogeorgakopoulos, A. , Keay-Bright, W., Wechsler (2013) ed Kouroupetroglou, G. Camera-Based Motion-Tracking and Performing Arts for Persons with Motor Disabilities and Autism. in Assistive Technologies, Disability Informatics and Computer Access for Motor Limitations. IGI Global
D.J. Walker, W. Keay-Bright, D. Cobner (2012), Eds. A.J. Spink, F. Grieco, O.E. Krips, L.W.S. Loijens, L.P.J.J. Noldus, and P.H. Zimmerman. Autism and Somantics: Capturing Behaviour In The Wild, Proceedings of Measuring Behavior 2012 (Utrecht, The Netherlands, August 28-31, 2012)
Keay-Bright, W. (2008) ‘ReacTickles Global: A Non-Textual Mobile & Networked Play Space’, conference paper in the Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference, CPSR/ACM, Indiana University pp.258- 261
Keay-Bright, W. (2008) ‘The Reactive Colours project: Taking an Embodied Approach to ICT in Special Education’, journal paper in a Future of Creative Technologies special edition of the Journal of the Institute of Creative Technologies, Volume 1, ISSN 1757-7934, pp.18-21
Keay-Bright, W. (2009) ReacTickles: Playful Interaction with Information Communication Technologies, journal paper in the International Journal of Art & Technology, 2, 1/2, pp.133-151
Keay-Bright, W., Howarth I.C., (2011) Is Simplicity the Key to Engagement for Children on the Autism Spectrum, journal paper in the Journal of Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, Theme Issue on Technology for Autism, Springer March/April
Keay-Bright, W. (2011) Designing Interaction Though Sound and Movement with Children on the Autistic Spectrum, Proceedings title: Arts and Technology, Second International Conference, ArtsIT 2011, Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering (LNICST) Publisher: Springer
Keay-Bright, W. Lewis, J.G., (2011) Co-Creating Tools for Touch: applying an inspire-create-play-appropriate methodology for the ideation of therapeutic technologies, conference paper for Include, 2011 published in proceedings ISBN 978-1-907342-29-5. This paper was awarded Best Innovation in Inclusive Design
Not to have confidence in one’s body is to lose confidence in oneself’
Simone de Beauvoir (1974)
Many people, either through disability or ageing, have limited opportunities to enjoy meaningful activities that promote full body movement and physical exercise. Immobility not only impacts on physical well being, but also personal independence and self-expression. The Touch Trust is a charity providing specialist creative movement programs for people with profound and multiple needs, inspiring people to connect with each other though the body. In recent years Cariad Interactive worked with Cardiff Metropolitan University and the Touch Trust to explore how motion-sensing technologies could promote user-led enjoyment of movement. Whilst we have adopted a mindful approach to designing, setting judgements and ambitions aside, working in partnership with therapists and end users has been a creative challenge for everyone involved. The Touch Trust programme is responsive to individual needs, alert to the emergence of self confidence, taking even the most tentative movement as a possibility for action. Technology on the other hand, can seem disembodied, homogeneous, and lacking in responsiveness.
The workshop at Well Being 2013 invited delegates to review video footage in order to appreciate the need for appropriate inclusive design activities, and to think about how to incorporate influences from therapists and end users, in design for wellbeing. In trying out simple movement such as stretching, twisting, and combinations of these, the workshop enabled people to create flowing artworks that amplify bodily engagement. In this process of using technology to draw attention to actions our perception of disability was confronted.
This one day-workshop is to be hosted at the iconic Welsh Assembly Government Senedd Building at Cardiff Bay. The workshop is one in a series of activities organised in partnership with the Professional Learning Community (PLC) in Gesture Based Communication in Wales. Anthony Rhys, founder of the PLC, is providing us with a creative challenge in designing for disability. This gives us an opportunity to try out our Paper Prototyping workshops with key stakeholders from disability networks in Wales.
The short session delivered for Hirstwood Training covered how to use ReacTickles Magic and Somantics to experience sensations such as squash, stretch, push, pull, press, reach, tap, tickle and so on, where action and reaction are closely matched. Input data also included sound and movement, enabling users to capture, observe and create images with their bodies. As both these applications do not require previous experience of technology they can increase the inherent accessibility of the iPad. The abstract design adds to this inclusivity, as both children and adults can discover meaning through action. The session demonstrated how to trigger imaginative responses and expressive communication rather than to teach skills. I asked the audience to think about the iPad as a medium rather than a tool, particularly when projected. The amplification afforded though large scale projection supports gross motor movement and rhythm, creating possibilities for empathic, co-located interaction. Drawing on case studies and video testimonies, the sessions evidenced how these minimal interfaces have enabled users, some with the most profound disabilities, to quickly gain confidence in their ability and a sense of mastery.
Bridgend Day Centre caters for the needs of people with learning disabilities, giving them access to education, training, and a range of creative and therapeutic activities. Following on from our work with the Touch Trust and Rhondda Cynon Taf Skills for Independence, we created a bespoke training programme for the Day Centre and set up a camera/projector system in the Sensory Studio and the Touch Room. The first part of the training introduced Gestural Interaction through: Background Research , using ReacTickles to establish cause and effect, and encouraging the use of Tools For Touch, in order to generate confidence in Direct Support Assistants and other staff in using our technologies. We then referred to video testimonials and started to explore Somantics, whilst at the same time learning about the benefits of Body Schema & Mirrors and Gestural Communication. Finally, we looked at Staging The Action: how to set up a simple system – anywhere! Although we were running short of time, I briefly introduced Creative Movement: body awareness, weight, space, rhythm, moving with others, and provided the Day Centre with written documentation that explains how to encourage creative movement in adults with profound learning difficulties. We left and camera system at the Day Centre for a week, which they have been able to set up themselves and explore in their own time. The Feedback and documentation is available on request.
Cariad Interactive are delighted to be working with the Arts Council of Wales, Our Space scheme on an interactive arts project designed for, and with, preschool children. Our project is called Enfys (Rainbow) and the idea is to create a motivating interactive environment for children to explore the themes of colour though rhythmic movement and singing in the medium of Welsh.
Camera inputs will capture the actions of the children, which will be output onto a variety of surfaces, large or small, as a sequence of bidirectional, cause and effect, call and response, activities.
The Research and Development phase of Enfys is being undertaken with Cylch Meithrin Aberdar and Cylch Meithrin Trelai. Mudiad Meithrin is the main provider of Welsh medium early years care and education in the voluntary sector.
Mae’n bleser gan Cariad Interactive weithio gyda chynllun Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, Ein Lle Ni, ar brosiect celf ryngweithiol a gynlluniwyd ar gyfer, a gyda, plant cyn oedran ysgol. Enw’r prosiect yw Enfys, a’r syniad yw creu amgylchedd rhyngweithiol ysgogol i blant archwilio themâu lliw drwy symudiad rhythmig a chanu drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg.
Bydd mewnbwn camera yn dal symudiadau’r plant ac yna eu hallbynnu ar amrywiaeth o arwynebau, mawr neu fach, fel cyfres o weithgareddau deugyfeiriad, achos ac effaith a galw ac ymateb.
Cynhelir cyfnod cychwynnol y Cynllun, sef ymchwilio a datblygu’r syniad, gyda Chylch Meithrin Aberdâr a Chylch Meithrin Trelai. Mudiad Meithrin yw’r prif ddarparwr gofal ac addysg y blynyddoedd cynnar cyfrwng Cymraeg yn y sector wirfoddol yng Nghymru.
Keay-Bright, W. (2008) ‘Tangible technologies as interactive play spaces for
children with learning difficulties: the Reactive Colours project’, The International
Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp.111-120
Cariad Interactive created interactive backdrops for a unique performance of the Aesop’s fable “The North Wind and the Sun“. Held at the iconic Wales Millennium Centre, the performers – service users and carers from Rhondda Cynon Taf Skills for Independence, together with Dave Morris from the Touch Trust – were accompanied by musicians from the Welsh National Opera. The backdrops set the atmosphere for the performers, acting out the elements, Snow, Wind, Thunder and Sun, as they tried to persuade travellers to remove their multicoloured cloaks. The finale of live music and dance provided us with an opportunity to project ReacTickles to add some multicoloured magic to the party atmosphere.
Cariad Interactive are delighted to be collaborating with MUSE and musician, Doug Bott on the Listening Aloud project, funded by Youth Music and Cardiff Metropolitan University. Throughout the Listening Aloud we are conducting far reaching research and development into making music accessible for those who experience additional barriers to participation. As with our other projects, young people are at the heart of every stage of design. Early ideation has begun at Three Ways School, Bath and already the input from staff and children has inspired us to put aside assumptions and to focus on music making as a meaningful feature of our everyday experiences!
Somantics uses motion sensing and projection technology to recognise and convert gesture into visceral, real-world digital performances. The aim of the work has to produce a suite of ‘tools for expression’ that discover, capture and amplify the communication interests of young people with Autism Spectrum Conditions (ASC) and other related communication difficulties.
ReacTickles Magic is one of our most successful and established projects that has grown in harmony with developments in sensor-based interaction and open source programming. The core ethos of ReacTickles Magic is to provide users with a continuous positive feedback loop, so that they easily gain a sense of control and mastery. The software is designed to mirror bodily input through touch, sound and motion. The simple iconic interface encourages a variety of gestural and manipulative inputs, for example repetition, rhythm and pressure, shaking, pressing, tapping, smoothing, dragging, circling. With the addition of sound, an infinite variety of vocalisations can make a direct impression on the graphical output.
Hello world, we are working on the Cariad Interactive site as we speak. In the mean time, please check http://www.somantics.org for all the details of our latest projects.
Keay-Bright, W. (2007) ‘Can computers create relaxation? Designing Reactickles software with children on the autistic spectrum’, CoDesign, 3, (2) 97 – 110
Keay-Bright, W. (2007) The Reactive Colours project: demonstrating participatory and collaborative design methods for the creation of software for autistic children. Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.7-16 *Won Award for Excellence in Design
Keay-Bright, W. (2007) Designing playful sensory experiences with interactive whiteboard technology: the implications for children on the autistic spectrum. Dancing with Disorder: Design, Discourse and Disaster: 7th European Academy of Design Conference: Published conference proceedings
Keay-Bright, W. (2006) Reactivities: Autism and Play. Digital Creativity, 17, (3) pp149-156