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the project? 
AROUND-Children As Inspiration-
Framework for a Digital Sandbox
MA Graduation Project 

Department of Product and Strategic Design at UIAH
Future Media Home / Media Lab
Andrea Botero 



The project investigated the area of designing meaningful technologies for children in every day life, taking advantage of increasingly smarter tools and networked systems that could be available in the future. The goal was to explore and offer children, opportunities for self expression, discovery and imagination. 

The development and design process explored children as users and their special needs. Particular ways to gain material through observation of the users in their environment , including experimentation of the concepts with the children were explored.   More than a user centered methodology, the project sought to understand and experiment a "people inspired " approach in which videos, drawings and scenarios -stories of the children- where used to inspire and test the concepts. 

The proposal -a digital sandbox- also explores how simple tools and actions could become meaningful for children when they are capable not only of manipulating their own things, but also, bringing some elements from the environment into the game.


The result aims at providing not a final product, but an attempt to look behind the black box and set a framework for future development of a flexible interface toolkit for children (from the perspective of an industrial designer). More over it outlines the study of a particular process in which it was important to study what happens when children (as users) are involved.

- People first:  different people express and find meaning in a variety of ways, in designing for children it is useful to consciously involve their points of view and interests with different alternatives. 
- Proposing: Based on the toolkit approach common in many software programming environments, the digital sandbox toolkit envisioned is not a material product, rather a set of components, functions and interaction possibilities, which will allow children to interact with digital entities and create "applications or activities" in an intuitive and playful way.  To make some of the ideas explicit and understandable, the toolkit is explained trough possible future products and scenarios of applications that could be composed eventually with it. 


The project lies in the context of the Design Fiction study project, sponsored by the Future Media Home (FMH) research project (Media Lab UIAH) and its industrial partners. The FMH project explores the FUTURE and tells design stories that deal with applications, needs and ways to do things from an individual’s point of view.


Kari- Hans



GD. Terry
Ducay (AOL)

Prof. Kari Kuuti
(Univ. of Oulu)

Sandbox's 4
layer structure
Mlab DemoDAY 4layers.html

Future Media

Research project. 
(Media Lab)
My Host

The Department
of Product and
Strategic design
My Home

EMAIL!!mail You might want to take a look at:
  • Table of Contents (of the final document) --- .pdf file 
  • Abstract (of the document) --- .pdf file