Importance of Light
The crucial point of the research stage was in-depth research in collaboration with RNIB Sunshine House School for Visually Impaired in London. For the period of two months, the designer was shadowing the occupational therapists and pupils to understand the context of use of common sensory therapy tools.
The main outcome of this research was determining the importance of light. Children with CVI were incredibly motivated to engage in any interaction if they received light as a primary reward.
Research at the RNIB Sunshine House provided a source of inspiration for the initial concepts. First ideas strongly focused on a set of accessories for a light table. As the design process continued, the designer came up with an idea of interactive 3D puzzles.
At the beginning of the play, the parents build with their children the sensory environment using the tiles of their choice.
Engaging in Level 1 Interaction
Rainbow Tile represents Level 1 interaction: easiest task to complete within the toy. The child is encouraged to put his/her forward to see the full spectrum of colours.
1. The interaction motivates the child to move his upper body parts and therefore train gross motor skills.
2. The movement of reaching out in front of the child's face helps the pupil comprehend the concept of depth and become more familiar in exploring the objects around them.
3. Clear effect (light) on their actions upon the toy (reaching out) teaches the children cause-effect line of thought which is an essential element in developing basic cognitive skills.
Engaging in Level 2 Interaction
Beehive Tile represents Level 2 interaction: more difficult task to complete as it requires the child to pick up the complementary element and push it through the cut-out shape in the tile. As a result of completing the more difficult task, the child is rewarded with more entertaining light animation (lights chasing themselves in the shape of a hexagon) as well as sound and vibration.
1. The action of 'pushing the shape through' motivates the child to enhance their fine motor skills and general hand-movement coordination.
2. The child is rewarded with more sensory stimulations for completing a more advanced task in comparison to the first interaction which strengthens their understanding of cause-effect.
3. Cubo helps the child understand the correlation between 3D object and their 2D representations. The child first feels the general shape of a honey hexagon in their hands but then can trace the cutout shape in the tile with their fingertips.