Blended Play

A dolls house, where the physical characters control digital versions on a screen and the needs and emotions of the digital avatars effect the movements of the physical ones.

RFID Readers, Aluminium Foil and Cardboard

Blended Play is orientated around the physical and virtual worlds and the roles they play in the development of young people.

The project specifically explores the areas of playing and socialising. It proposes a model that is not bound to either the physical or the virtual worlds, but allows the two to be connected and for the child to play and socialise using both, simultaneously, blended together.

The ‘dolls’ that the child physically plays with and moves around the house have RFID tags in them. When a doll is placed in a room, it’s digital avatar appears in the corresponding room on the screen. The digital avatar has needs, it gets tired and hungry for instance. To feed the avatar, the child puts the doll in the kitchen, to let it sleep, it moves it to the bedroom. The avatars also get bored and need to socialise.

The physical house endorses physical creativity and real world play and imagination, the corresponding digital world provides feedback, social elements and all the expansion that online play entails.

Blended Play creates an alternative approach to the standard keyboard and mouse interface with the computer for young children. It presents the idea of haptic and tactile interfaces, removing the child from the immediate environment of the computer, but not depriving them from the educational, creative and social possibilities of the web.