This thesis presents a design research study about activating play: learning and showing how to stimulate physical and social play for teenagers using interactive technology in public spaces.
To achieve this goal, a design research process has been used: an iterative process of design, evaluation and analysis. Four design research cycles were executed in this project, each building on the results of the previous cycles. In these cycles, many prototypes were designed, implemented and evaluated with teenagers in public spaces .
Through the design research cycles a design vision of free play was developed. Free play is creative and autonomous play, without predetermined structure or meaning, that continually evolves through the actions and interactions of the players.
The combination of the designs and design knowledge is the main contribution of this thesis. Together, they explain and illustrate how we can stimulate physical and social play for teenagers using interactive technology in public spaces.
In both his education as M.Sc. in Industrial Design, and his PhD, Rob focused on activating play through interactive technology. He uses curiosity, play and social interaction to elicit people to change their behaviour for the better, while they play and enjoy themselves.
Rob’s interactive systems activate play in public contexts for various target groups. His designs have been used by thousands of teenagers, children, sporters and curious people in schools, museums, cities, festivals, sport centres and swimming pools. Various scientific publications explain the theories and frameworks behind the designs, to ground his design vision and to help fellow designers and researchers.