Play:Connected

Context

A prototype built during Interactive Telecommunications Program graduate thesis for two children at area pediatric center. The children have medically complex needs and cannot live at home. That means they are seperated from their parents and siblings while undergoing care. How could the children play across that distance? I looked at telepresence robots and sought to build one that would be geared towards facilitating play. In working with the two children at the center, one really wanted a tank. I hacked an old foam dart turret to be controlled by websockets and driven through a cross platform phone app. An inexpensive tablet would stream the child's face and robot's surroundings. Switch access could be used to provide a level of control for children with more limited mobility. IR sensors on the robot registered when a foam dart gun was shot at the robot. The robot would transmit the signal through websockets to the remote location of the child, triggering another dart blaster in the child's room. In that way, if a person were to hit the robot with a foam dart, it would result in the child being hit as well.

Technologies and Materials Used