I aim to shape products, interfaces and services that mediate meaningful dialogues between people, systems and their environments within everyday life.
Combining aspects of Lego, video game, and board games, Sifteo Cubes are a new way to play. The prototype concept was introduced in a 2009 TED talk by David Merrill, and now these interactive wireless blocks are coming to market. Showcasing innovating interaction design, these 1.5″-inch cubes with full colour screens are motion- and context-aware allowing players to shake, tilt, jolt, rotate, slide and click to affect neighbouring tiles.
They pioneer something the company calls “Intelligent Play,” which is a vaguely elevated term for a toy that manages to be both fun and smart. They’re video games for people who hate video games. [...] “We’re not trying to compete with Nintendo, Microsoft, EA and others,” Sifteo spokesman Paul Doherty tells Co.Design. “We’re trying to create games that promote learning, spatial reasoning and truly interactive play.”
See the Sifteo cubes in action:
A simple ring around a tree acts as a new space for kindergarten children to learn and play. The idea of using senses and bodily movement as tools for learning inspired the design:
The preferred space for teaching preschool children avoids the classical dynamics of frontal lectures. In “Philosophical Investigations,” Ludwig Wittgenstein writes that what children and foreigners have in common is the absence of knowledge of language and a set of codified rules. This leads them—in the first instance—to learn through the senses and the body. To give the children more freedom to move around the school, the directors of the Fuji Kindergarten requested Tezuka to design spaces without furniture: no chairs, desks or lecterns. As a result, “Ring Around a Tree” offers an architecture where there are no measures taken to constrain space, in order to liberate the body.
The Japanese Zelkova tree had already been a “place-playmate” for several generations serving as a treehouse, temporary shelter, and climbing area before being transformed as an addition to the Fuji Kindergarten.
Looking back on my own experience, the staircase and balcony of my childhood home was a playmate for my sisters and I. In addition to functioning simply as a connection between floors, it became an area for us and our friends to slide down and climb, listen to story time and to put on puppet shows. What was your place playmate?
One of the best things I love about New York City is its brilliant use of urban space to engage the public.
On my recent trip to NYC, I had to re-visit the High Line, a revitalization project transforming the elevated rail line into an innovative public park and space for exploration, interaction, and art installations. This summer, the High Line opened the new section 2 extension that lead to a new public plaza below called The Lot. To my delight I encountered Rainbow City, a whimsical playground filled with giant colourful balloon sculptures (including a bouncy castle) inviting both children and adults and to play.
The installation has since been taken down, but now in its place is another great idea: an open air rollerskating rink. Wonderful inspiration for other urban cities.