University of Sussex Media Release.
. Research project to involve children in development of interactive digital toys

9th February 2001
For immediate release

A new University of Sussex research project to develop interactive digital toys has received just under 1 million funding. Children will be involved at the design stage for the toys, which are intended to help their users experience new forms of expression and creativity.

'The central aim of this project is to explore the relationship between the physical and the digital and to promote the integration of the two,' says Dr Yvonne Rogers, who co-leads the project with Dr Mike Scaife. The way children have taken to mobile phones, and in particularly text messaging, has led the team at Sussex to the view that involving children in the early design stages of new devices will produce better results.

One possible example Dr Rogers gives is a child's soft toy with a device embedded within it which, when taken out of a box, could trigger another event such as a sound or image being projected onto the wall. Such digital toys could be used to develop new ways to help children learn and play. The team are also hoping to work with an artist to put on a public performance featuring children using wearable computers, known as 'wearables'.

The work at Sussex is part of a six-year interdisciplinary research collaboration known as 'Equator : Technical Innovation in Physical and Digital Life' involving eight universities - Lancaster, Bristol, Nottingham, UCL, Sussex, Glasgow, Southampton and the Royal College of Art. The project has a total budget of around 10 million and is funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Notes for Editors:

For further information, please contact Peter Simmons or Alison Field, University of Sussex, Tel. 01273 678888, Fax 01273 877456, email P.J.Simmons@sussex.ac.uk or A.Field@sussex.ac.uk.

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