By Team gman
Gobug is an interactive toy designed to facilitate an inclusive social learning experience for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. However, individuals of all ages and abilities are welcome to join, play and learn.
Gobug is designed to move around on a ground surface at the control of the users. Up to two or three children can play with the toy simultaneously. Each user takes ownership of one controller. These controllers work in conjunction; each user points his/her remote in a direction, and the Gobug moves in the combined direction of the active controllers. For example, if there are two users and each has the controller pointed straight ahead, the Gobug will go straight ahead. However, if one user points the controller straight to the left, and the other points straight ahead, the Gobug will move at a forty-five degree angle (the intermediate direction). The more in sync the controllers are, in the same pointed direction, the faster Gobug moves.
Gobug won't activate unless two or more controllers are in-hand. Gobug also provides a few feedback features; the user is rewarded or informed for correct or incorrect play. The children are rewarded for good teamwork. When users have their remotes pointed in similar directions, one can assume they are correctly "reading" verbal or non-verbal cues from each other and working together. Each controller has a color ribbon running across the top. When the users' controllers are pointed in similar directions, the color ribbon turns green. If the children's remotes are pointed in opposite directions, for example, the ribbon will turn red. Additionally, when the children's controllers are pointed in similar direction, the Gobug will actually go faster (a form of positive feedback for good performance). Thus, the user is constantly informed about his participation in play and is also given incentives to communicate with the other user(s).
How can Gobug help?
There are infinite ways in which Gobug can help a child with autism. A child would benefit greatly from the sort of multi-play that this toy offers. Users have to work together on verbal, physical, or non-verbal communicative levels. Specifically, one must be aware of the other player's hand movements. An autistic child would be able to learn via imitative play; observing the other child and his or her hand motions. The user also has to be very aware of his/her own movements; body awareness. A child could greatly improve his/her spatial perception and motor planning as a result. Below is a summary list of some of the ways Gobug could help a child with autism...
Child with autism has to listen and process verbal directions from partner(s) in order to control the toy effectively.
The toy is controlled by sensitive motion-based controls. The child has to be conscious of his or her own hand movement for Gobug to go forwards, backwards, left or right, in space.
Child has to visually follow the path of the toy as it moves through space.
Child has to initiate, organize, and execute sequential movements in order to effectively maneuver Gobug.
A child with autism is required to be aware of his/her partner's actions while playing in a natural, unforced manner. The most fun play experience will occur when the players are mutually engaged and cooperative.
Gobug can be an extraordinary toy to facilitate interaction with all children, not just those diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Gobug is ultimately designed to be a fun experience, one where everyone is invited. Every individual is unique. We all have certain talents and certain challenges, and we all come in different shapes and sizes. One of the best ways to learn about and understand each other is through inclusive activity. Gobug can be a dynamic facilitator for social interaction. Let people of all sorts come together and enjoy the Gobug experience.
The Autism Connects technology and design competition challenged students to help individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to better connect with the world around them and allow individuals who do not have ASD to better understand and connect with those who do by combining technological and creative solutions. This international student competition brought together a distinguished jury panel across disciplines including Yves Behar (fuseproject), Lisa Strausfeld (Pentagram), Richard Seymour (Seymourpowell) and our own Allan Chochinov (Core77). The Jury grand prize winner will be awarded $5000 and the top three designs will receive a $1,000 stipend and registration fees to attend the 2011 International Meeting for Autism Research, to be held May 12 to 14, 2011 in San Diego, CA, where they will be invited to present their design concept. We will be profiling all of the winners in anticipation of next week's conference.
See the full list of winners here.