Dundee student designs Passive Play toy cube to stimulate parents interaction with autistic children

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posted May 4th 2012 6:47PM

A University of Dundee scholar has been working on a wonderful tool that aims to evoke the emotional connection between autistic children and their parents. While we've seen novelties like the My Keepon in the past, any addition to the cause is always a pleasant one, and the Passive Play's no exception. The concept comes in the form of an interactive toy cube for the kid (pictured above), which pairs up with an iOS app and allows the parent to see any interaction the little one is having with the device. Passive Play's creator, Tom Kirkman, says his inspiration comes from "wanting to learn more about autism ," and in case you happen to be in the UK, he'll be showing off the project at Dundee University later this month. For all those details, be sure to give the PR below a quick read.

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A student at the University of Dundee has designed an innovative concept that looks at how autistic children can interact and connect with their parents through play.

'Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates

with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around


(The National Autism Society)

Parents with child that are affect by autism can often feel isolated from their child and this

leads to a breakdown in the physical and emotional connection the parent would normally

experience from their child.'


Passive Play is a vision that explores the complex developmental disability, Autism.

Specifically it aims to evoke the emotional connection that a parent may have lost with

their child during the preliminary stages of the disorder. Passive play is a conceptual

platform that consists of an interactive toy cube for the child, and a iOS application for the

parent. When the child makes contact with the sensory object, they are unconsciously

engaging with their parent through a mobile device thus illuminating their interests and

learning. This helps the parent to feel more connected to their child.

This project draws inspiration from wanting to learn more about Autism. Tom, a father

himself, feels that Autism in children is definitely something that parents worry about as

their child grows up. This project has given Tom the opportunity to mix his skills as an

interaction designer and combine them with the passion to push himself and experience a

side of design that he had not yet explored.

Tom will be exhibiting his Honours Project at:

DJCAD at Dundee University Degree Show

between the dates: 19th May to 27th May 2012;

Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

University of Dundee, 13 Perth Road,

Dundee DD1 4HT

Digital Interaction Design (DiXD) at Dundee University

Digital Interaction Design at Dundee is all about being more creative and sensitive about

how digital technology will affect our lives. Today this doesn't just mean computers of

course - digital technology is almost everywhere! It's about designing things that don't

just look beautiful, but also behave beautifully. It's about understanding users' needs and

desires and developing good technical knowledge to make it all happen. Our students are

gaining an international reputation for work that combines design, people and technology.

This is possible because of an equal partnership between Duncan of Jordanstone College

of Art and Design, and the School of Computing - both internationally renowned - making

for a very special relationship that has led to this pioneering course.

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