Team: Natalie Freed advised by Cynthia Breazeal

Description: In “Le Fonduephone,” a young child learns French by sitting down at a cafe table with a plush robotic character and ordering food together. The table is situated within a projected virtual environment that provides an animated backdrop. The character models how to order food and as the child practices the new vocabulary, the food is delivered via projections onto the table’s surface. Meanwhile, a teacher observes the interaction remotely via a virtual representation of the cafe and can adjust the robot’s conversation and behavior to support the learner.

Or, as was much better explained by a 5-year old play tester: “This is the fluffy robot that only speaks French.”

Technologies: Java, Flash and ActionScript 3, Adobe Air for Android, custom IR marker tracking system, conductive paint and laser-etched traces, Adam Setapen‘s Dragonbot platform.

I am now developing a portable version of this game to test with preschoolers, using an Android tablet built into a little wooden table. The design goal with this one is also to leverage the flexibility of digital content while making this a tactile, playful, and social experience.