Projects

With OutsideTheBox we will think laterally and outside of typical boxes and categorisations. We will design new technologies with autistic children which are not exclusively driven by functional limitations, but engage children in all their diversity and with all their differences.

Project Homepage: http://outsidethebox.at

Team: Christopher Frauenberger, Julia Makhaeva, Katharina Spiel

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TEAM (Technology Enabled Mental Health for Young People), is a 4-year Innovation Training Network (ITN), funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions initiative. There has been considerable research and many commercial products for improving physical health. However, the use of technology to support mental health lags far behind. The aim of the training network is to deliver new applications and technologies that support rapid, large-scale early assessment, prevention and treatment of mental health issues in young people.

As part of the TEAM project, the HCI group focus on design and evaluation of technology-enabled programs that empower young people and help them to build resilience and care for their own mental health, thus reducing the incidence of mental health difficulties.

While incidence of mental health difficulties generally is increasing, incidence for youth from a refugee migrant background is even higher. Unaccompanied boys and girls, such as those fleeing Syria, are at particular risk of mental health issues, including attempted suicide and self-harm. The challenge is not just how to treat such youth once mental health issues manifest, it is how to implement prevention strategies that are evidence-based, but also fit into their specific life worlds. Thus, as part of the project an in-depth understanding of the lived experience, needs and opportunities for prevention programs delivery for unaccompanied migrant youths in Austria through an ethnographic study of their contexts, the role of technology, and how they might be engaged with prevention strategies, will be gained. One outcome of the research will be a framework and set of design implications for technology development: how technologies can be used to deliver (and, if needed, re-interpret) existing evidence-based strategies around resilience and positive coping strategies for this high-risk user group.

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SCHAUKASTEN - Sehförderung für Kleinkinder (1.12.2016 - 31.1.2018), financed by: Hauptverband der österreichischen Sozialversicherungsträger

SCHAUKASTEN seeks to conceptualize, co-design and implement novel interactive toys that motivate young children with visual impairments to keep up with their often dull but crucially important optical exerices.

Children with distinct visual impairment shall exercise their vision as soon as possible in order not to go blind. This exercise in vision constitutes an important building block for later leading an autonomous life.

Unfortunately, these exercise can often be little engaging and boring for the effected children and their parents or caregivers.

Therefore, SCHAUKASTEN seeks novel ways into motivating these children to do their exercises by supporting them with engaging and interactive exercise elements. During training, children shall be motivated by interactive toys to focus and endure as long as optimal. At the same time, parents and caregivers shall be relieved from challenges in motivating the children.

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A principal challenge for existing social-emotional learning (SEL) programs is to provide reinforcement of the learnt competencies in everyday contexts and beyond the in-school lessons. SEL4Home project starts to bridge this gap by exploring how novel technologies can extend the programming into the homes of learners.

We collaborate with SEL developers and researchers at Committee for Children---the developers of Second Step, used by more than 8 millions of children in USA; as well as the VIBE group at Microsoft Research.

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Minecraft multiplayer servers allow millions of children from around the world to build, play and problem solve together in a shared virtual space. As conflicts between players are common, these online spaces offer unique opportunity to help children develop effective conflict resolution skills that would then transfer to real-world settings.

This project draws on 40 years of conflict resolution curricula in Prevention Science to develop in-game tools that embedded learning into the Minecraft gameplay. To explore this space, we collaborate with leading game researchers (Katie Salen, Mimi Ito) as well as SEL developers at Committee for Children (the developers of Second Step, used by more than 8 millions of children in USA).

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