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Introducing Screenplay: An interactive children's waiting room experience

Elaine Biddiss, Professor at the University of Toronto's Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) and Scientist at the Holland Bloorview Research Institute, has developed a cutting edge medical-setting waiting room for children. This interactive display is being launched in the 2nd floor waiting room at the Holland Bloorview Children's Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto on the morning of Friday, May 18th.

Waiting in a doctor's office or hospital can be a very stressful and fearful experience for children and their families. Some pediatric waiting rooms provide toys to distract children and relieve anxiety and boredom. Traditional toys, however, can spread infections when handled and are often not accessible to children with disabilities.

Introducing Screenplay

Screenplay is an interactive and inclusive system for Holland Bloorview's clinic waiting area that will feature a large-scale projection wall that children and adults of all abilities can interact with. The installation boasts a pressure-sensitive floor comprised of 100 tiles which allows children, standing or sitting, to create large projections on a wall-sized glass screen. Projection film is then applied to the glass wall from a ceiling-mounted projector. Calibrated from their movements, projection film is then applied to the glass wall from a ceiling-mounted projector.

For Biddiss, the installation originates from the "inverted" logic that helps serve the children it was designed to engage the mostchildren with severe disabilities and mobility issues--even as it keeps active, able-bodied children calm, stationary, and engaged. "The longer you stay in one spot, the bigger the projection," Biddiss explains, allowing those with the least amount of mobility to create the largest images. The floor also promotes collaborative learning: multiple children can play together on the floor to create wall-sized forests, for instance.

Biddiss notes that Screenplay was a "very collaborative effort," between engineers, the Holland Bloorview Children's Rehabilitation Foundation, as well as students from the Ontario College of Art and Design, who designed the projector images. The initial idea for the project was inspired by the memory of the late Dr. Tammy Kagan-Kusher.

The project, which will be launched with demonstrations by some of the children who were involved in the projects' testing, was awarded a CHIR grant.


Contact: Erin Vollick
University of Toronto

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