Preethas theses research was to develop and test a working prototype of a textile touch and feelbook for toddlers. The core concept was to enhance the textile book with interactivity through seamlessly integrated electronics. Similar like traditional textile books for little kids, the prototype consists of three double pages, each showing a different character – a fish, a bear, and a firefly. The implemented feedback given to children’s interactions was selected based on the primary senses - seeing, feeling and hearing. When the fish’s tail is pulled, it activates a buzzer playing a sound. When touching or pressing the bear's belly, it vibrates and gives a tactile feedback. When covering a light sensor on the firefly, LEDs in the starry sky are turning on. After realizing the prototype, Preetha tested it with 18 children in the age of 1-7 years.
My part was guiding and supporting Preetha in developing the prototype. I had the idea for this research project, developed the interaction concept of the three characters, created a paper protoype and tested it my family environment. After Preetha approached me searching for a thesis topic, she started continuing the work improved the interaction concept of firefly (what was actually a bird in the first sketches and then a moth in the paper prototype), and replaced the idea of a textile button to turn on the LEDs through a light sensor. I continously mentored her work, helped to develop the spine of the book which is the core of the electronics inside the book, and showed her how to best integrate electronic and textile components. Since the results of the user tests are promising, we hope to continue this reserch project, to further improve the interaction concept and book design, and to develop a more advanced prototype for conducting further field tests.