Dream a little dream

How might we enable children to understand human emotions and overcome their fears? A research into early development of emotional intelligence for children.

concept

Emotional Disability: An emotional and/or behavioral disability is a disability that impacts a person's ability to effectively recognize, interpret and express fundamental emotions. The impact of the behavior on the student’s education progress must be the guiding principle for identification.

The featured toy, Kibō wa ( 'Hope', '希望は' ), is an interactive toy from the Dream a Little Dream series. It is a communication tool that aims to create an open dialogue through play and interaction between an emotionally disabled child and an adult, in order to help them express and understand their emotions. This enables them to cope with their problems and learn from them. The toy makes it easier for adults to help the fearful child who is in need of attention, and it removes the barrier of fear to open up. 

Many children find it hard to express themselves when they are upset, especially children who experience family problems, bullying and even medical problems. This makes it hard for the teachers, psychologists and parents to help them cope with their problems and hence, the child’s development process and learning experience can get hampered which could result in further problems in their future. 

This project was done in collaboration with child psychologists and art therapists working in the art therapy and psychology department of Umeå University, Sweden. 

Process

This product was an exploration into soft circuits, e-textiles, and Arduino. It was handcrafted using conductive materials and fabrics that were sewed together. Within the toy lies a micro controller that detects pressure. The harder the child squeezes the sooner the alert is sent from the toy to the mother's phone.

Advisors: Tony Catignani, Carl DiSalvo, Pulsea