Report of the Play (2010) module

Posted by Thomas on Friday April 15th 2011 at 14:56

Some of the researchers of the Play&Game research group also teach at the MAD-faculty. Here is a report of what CMD (Computer Media Design) master students created in the module ”Play”, guided by Thomas Laureyssens and Steven Malliet.

The goal of the course was to create play-interfaces suitable for public space that improve communication between the workers of the textile sorting centre TexOkazi in Hasselt, Belgium. The majority of the workers are immigrants who don’t fluently speak Dutch, the common language on the work floor.  These laborers come from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and often stick in small group with their kin. Since the recycling centre also serves for social integration, one of the goals is to get the workers ready for the regular labor circuit where good communication skills in Dutch are a necessity.  Thomas Geusens from StreetWize, a training & development organization partnering with MobileSchool, proposed the partnership with TexOkazi to us.

The course lasted 9 full days spread over a duration of 11 weeks in which we let the students experience user-centered design through rapid iterations of prototype building and successive play-testing.
On Week 3 of the course, the students observed the factory floor and had focus-group sessions in which they got feedback on their first ideas.  These sketches had the form of paper prototypes in which the interaction could be simulated.  The students had both feedbacks from groups of 4 workers, as well as feedback from both the staff of TexOkazi, StreetWize and the teachers. On Week 6 the students play-tested their first interactive prototypes, closely followed by more such sessions on Week 8. Final presentations were on Week 11 on the factory floor. The many contact moments proved very efficient as well as motivating for the students, who where highly motivated to create the best prototypes possible for their target-group.

The students were divided in 4 groups, assembled by the teachers based on the skills of the students.  CMD students often have different profiles: there are designers, developers, and some others like to fiddle with custom made electronics using Arduino. The focus was to create interfaces that would be as integrated as possible within the working environment, including objects and actions from the factory floor into the design. Students were free to use any technology they wanted, like RFID, Augmented Reality, Wii Controller and Touch Screens. One group even created a solution using a DSLR camera and an iPad.


Mathijs Beks, Yolien De Moor, Robin Houdmeyers, Dennis Janssen

The idea of this project was transform the daily actions of the workers (sorting clothes), into a playful action: finding clothes and accessories as a preparation of a weekly dressing party. The students proposed the following scenario: at the start of every week, there would be a cryptic mission description to let the workers look for clothes on a specific theme.  During the user-test, the group used themes like “Winter Fun” and “Beach”. On the day of the dressing party an automated photo boot guided the people though a series of photo games like imitating a picture or fitting the player’s heads into a cut-out photo.

The FotoKazi box with iPad and DSLR camera


Michiel Vanreyten, Evelien Dupont, Nicolas Schepers

This project started from the observation that in the recycling centre there is always a radio playing.  A hybrid between a skee-ball game and a jukebox was invented which enables the factory workers to choose musical genres by playful interaction. Songs can be added to a play list by hitting characters corresponding the musical genres with coins.  The coins can be thrown by aiming a Wii Controller to the screen. The workers can choose between Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, House, Russian and Arabic.


Ben Mercx, Maarten Princen, Ronald Vandenbosch

Fooz is inspired by the controls of the Foosball game. In this game, two teams of 2 players control little football characters by turning bars, and thus can shoot a ball across the playing field, hopefully towards the right goal.  Anyone who has seen this being played knows it’s a good recipe for fun interaction.

The goal was to start from those physical controls and create a game in which 2 teams of 2 players should communicate and collaborate in order to win the game. The proposed solution is a box with 4 bars with 4 sensors attached. By pulling and pushing the bars the players control 2 types of game elements. Each team has 1 player who controls a pong-style-paddle that bounces back a ball. The other player has to aim the direction the ball is bounced back.


Annelies Fleurbaey, Bob Coeradi, Gert Pellens, Johannes Govaerts

The project aims to let the factory workers communicate to each other by exchanging clothes for their personal Avatars.  Every player starts with a random set of clothes, which can be traded with other players to collect matching sets of clothes. The system identifies the players when they bring their RFID batch close to a reader. Several people can be logged in at the same time and drag clothes from one player’s wardrobe to another’s with a touch screen. Additional clothes can be obtained by playing several types of quizzes, which you answer by rotating an object with Augmented Reality tags in front of a camera.

HackLab by the Sea 2010

Posted by Jim Bollansee on Tuesday August 10th 2010 at 11:41


Hey Kids,
Almost two weeks ago now, FinnAir flight AY812 landed in Helsinki.
I was on that flight.

Four hours later, I sat naked in a very small room, surrounded by a few other men, who were also naked and a fair bit older then me.

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