Andrea Rosales is now a Doctor!

The GTI member Andrea Rosales defended successfully her PhD Thesis last Wednesday, September 3rd, with the title “Designing wearable and playful accessories to encourage free-play amongst school aged children”.

Congratulations to Andrea, and her Thesis Directors Dr. Sergio Sayago from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and Dr. Josep Blat from Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

And thanks to the three members of the defense tribunal, Dra. M. Paloma Díaz Pérez, from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Dr. Narcís Parés Burgès, from Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and Dr. Dai Griffiths, from  University of Bolton who sparked an interesting discussion.

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Thesis Abstract

According to social studies, everyday life has reduced children’s opportunities for free-play, which, in the long term, can compromise their social and physical development. Previous HCI studies have been addressing the question of how to apply sensing and reactive technologies to encourage free-play by, for example, augmenting playgrounds and shared objects with these technologies. This dissertation explores the design process and evaluation of wearable digital accessories to encourage and facilitate free-play amongst school-aged children in alternative free-play settings. This is done in order to take advantage of free-play opportunities that arise on the move and to encourage body challenges and social experiences through individual exploration. In this context, the thesis discusses (a) three design cases of playful accessories, (b) a quantitative and qualitative evaluation to assess the ability of the accessories to encourage free-play, (c) the design process of playful experiences with the participation of children and older people (60+). This thesis also provides a set of design opportunities that can be taken into account in the research of future digitally-augmented objects to encourage free-play.