Pokaboo: A Networked Toy for Distance Communication and Play.

Koichi Mori
Rafael Ballagas
Mirjana Spasojevic
ACM International Conference on Interaction Design and Children (IDC) 2011, ACM


How might we build on the physical interactivity of children's play to help children communicate over a distance? Pokaboo is a networked toy for children ages 2-5 to physically play even when they are far apart. Envisioned almost like a low-frame rate video chat, the system combines physically-linked buttons with photo and audio communication. A child will press a button down to take their own photo, and their self-portrait will pop up on their partner's device. The device was tested with both photo sharing and video chat. Children were most engaged when the buttons were part of a mobile video chat, where one child could press a button down and see their partner's button pop up in front of their far-away playmate. When the playmate responded with a button press, their button would magically pop up in front of them, in a form of physical call-and-response. Pokaboo shows how networked toys can help children to form engaging connections through physical play over a distance.

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