The aim of the kit is to provide recreationally and educational experience to children
hospitalized for long periods, in particular, the kit is intended for the teenager in insulation,
for which the contact with other people takes place only through the glass of their room.
The idea is that the child in their room builds the robot, addressing different levels and
winning points, exceed the limits of their own room, until arriving, again through the robot,
in the game room. The desire and need of the teenager is to reach peers in the game room,
he can communicate with them and understand what happens outside of their
room. The final purpose of the robot construction is, therefore, to create communication
with other patients and robots, increasing the score.
The kit is a training product that allows the patient to maintain a certain degree of
socialization with hospitalized peers.
The goal is to make the hospital a gaming platform, through a new recreational
and educational experience, transforming the teenager from patient to player.
Interface and interaction modality
The choice to build for the child a Robot is because this may be the artifact that best
response to its needs and that can become a kind of metaphor for him. The robot becomes
a user’s avatar, an instrument through which it can do the things he can not do. Furthermore,
the robot, in this case, is represented by a face, thanks to which the teenager is able to
express and to communicate with others. I imagined a scenario with more robots,
which represent the different users and communicate with each other. The robot can
be programmed in a not too difficult way and customized so that everyone has the different
characteristics of behavior. The main interface is that of the robot’s face,
through which the child can express his emotions, and these may be expressed by means of the
eyebrows. The user's mood is displayed by LED matrix on the face of the Robot. Each element
of the face has its own specific function. The eyes are distance sensors, a buzzer is a mouth on
the head is positioned a pushbutton with which the other patients can interact.
The idea of expressing the robot, across the face, a feeling, allows the patient to go beyond
the limits of his room and to communicate in a physical way with other peers.
The face becomes an interface and a means of communication between the robot
and the other patients and between robots.
The other interface is the application that allows the user to monitor, and program the
robot. The app displays all the gamification system, the user profile and the achievements
and other users profiles. The application must be easy to use for the child. Notification
of the degree of the Robot’s adaptation to its environment aims to stimulate the user to
use his O-Kao regularly, so as to keep in touch with the world that is outside of his room.
To the inside of the robot, the electronic part, I used an existing robot, the mBot, that
works with a programming language called Mackeblock. Mackeblock. is a programming
language that works by drag and drop with the code blocks. In this way, the user can create
interaction and behavior for the robot. I added a button on the robot's head with which
the person who meets the robot can interact, having a reaction from the robot previously
programmed by the adolescent. The robot's case has been designed using Rhino and
then was printed with 3D printer with white color. Even the tuft which is applied on the
robot was designed in Rhino and then printed with 3D, using the color black. I printed
a bunch version girl and a boy. As for the application, I designed the graphics and
the gamification system with scores and badges, using a graphic design suitable for a
The Key points of the experience are the Electronics: building and running the robot;
the Programming part: programming the robot behavior, expressing their mood; the
Socialization part: doing the robot to interact with other patients and other robots and
the Gamification: by motivating the teenager to continue to use the robot through the
levels and a scoring system. The app support the user during the robot
construction, the programming part and the monitoring of the robot. In addition, through
a notification system, he will be advised of the robot interactions and the acquired points.
Thanks to the app the teenager will monitor the Robot status, receive notifications and see
if it reaches the goals and view their profile with points and the degree of the Robot’s
adaptation to its environment. With the robot metaphor, I want to get in
touch the insulated patient with other peers. With this kit I propose to the patient a
new experience, giving him a different role, transforming him into a player who will
undertake to achieve the objectives.
Research and development context
My work is developed into the context of Regina Margherita Hospital, pediatric oncology
and hematology department. For the user research and in order to understand the patient’s
context, I interviewed some of the figures of the department staff. I analyzed the patient’s
routine and what activities are carried out within the hospital.
The target for the project are adolescents and pre-adolescents between 11-18 years, patients
of the pediatric oncology and hematology department of the Hospital Regina Margherita
of Turin. O-Kao is a robot kit, designed for children who are facing long periods at the hospital and
in particular for those who faced the insulation for a certain period of time. The kit is designed
so that a bedridden child can run in small steps.
But through the kit also I want to increase a certain level of patient mobility, forcing him
to get out of bed to build the robot, always when its state let him do it.
The main purpose of the kit is to give the patient the opportunity to learn the basics of electronics
and programming through the game and at the same time not to leave
him isolated. Once the patient will be released from the hospital, he will have acquired the
skills that can be useful for him.
With the robot metaphor, I want to get in touch the insulated patient with other peers.
With this kit I propose to the patient a new experience, giving him a different role,
transforming him into a player who will undertake to achieve the objectives.