Children play imagination games together as an important part of their social and emotional development, but traditional remote communication systems do not support this type of interaction. This work is a remote communication system designed to support imagination play using a tangible interface specifically for character toys: a dollhouse enhanced with physical objects that allow the toy inhabitants of the house to communicate with the inhabitants of a remote dollhouse.

The first version explored “phone” (audio) and a “mail system” (free-form drawing) as communication channels. This work was published as a student paper at the TEI (Tangible, Embedded Interaction) 2010 conference. The paper is here.

Version Two explores the addition of video, thanks to the support of the Nokia Research Center in Palo Alto who loaned several Nokia N810 Internet tablets. The tablet can be moved from floor to floor, allowing the children and their characters to “peek” into each others houses.

This work was presented at the IDC (Interaction Design and Children) 2010 Conference. Here are the presentation slides and here is the paper.