Great to be back at Ysgol y Deri collaborating with teaching practitioners from across the autism and PMLD sector in Wales. With a focus on Enchantment and the new Expressive Arts curriculum, our first “digital imagining” workshop considered whether co-production could be a viable and feasible method of addressing the digital marginalisation of pupils with profound disabilities.
As well as Dancing in Data, Wendy presented a paper entitled: “Somability: movement, independence and social engagement for adults with complex needs”, which reported on the design process and early findings on the Somability project. Even though we created the software back in 2014, there is still a need for playful, responsive interfaces that generate creative agency. This work is now feeding into our new research and collaborations with SEN teachers seeking opportunities to enhance the learning experiences of young people with PMLD within the WAG Digital Competence Framework.
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.
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”.
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
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.
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.
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