Soft Interaction for Young Children

Soft Material Study for Young Children’s Tangible Interaction in Education

Researchers in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) have been exploring the physical/tangible aspects of computing to enhance the quality of digital/virtual experience. The association of physicality and materiality with digital information has tremendous potential to enhance the quality of experience in education, entertainment, and social communication, especially for children. Many interactive research projects for education have integrated tangible user interfaces (TUIs) suggesting that tangibility enhances children’s learning and development. It has been shown that TUIs provide potential benefits of interaction styles, facilitating or reinforcing the uptake of the digital representations. We focus on how the materiality of objects is perceived by young children and how materiality affects their haptic explorations with tangibles on a tablet. To study this, we developed several research prototypes. One of the projects, Stampies consists of tangible objects made out of different materials (wood, felt, silicone, and plastic) and an iPad drawing application. The material studies for young children have design implications for tangible interaction for children.