After researching about how children learn I found some useful information which has helped me decide on my project decisions.
Android tablets and iPads are heavy
I realised after holding my Android tablet that it was quite heavy and tiresome on one hand if the other needs to press the screen to activate the animation of my cherry model. Tablets and iPads can weigh from 600g to 670g.
My users will be children in Primary School aged between 4-5 and the devices will be too heavy for them so I will have to put the devices on stands which are pointing at the marker and the pop-up/origami scene. This also has the advantage of reducing the risk of the tablet falling and being damaged. Here are examples of stands schools can use:
I also learnt that 4-5 year old children’s hand-eye coordination improves which means they are capable of using the device, but the actions they need to take will be simple and straight forward. Children begin understanding when to ask help from an adult or a friend which is perfect for instructing them to “tell an adult” in one of the first aid lessons.
The idea of my pop-up/origami Piece
My idea is to have a circular pop-up piece which children can sit around and you can view the whole piece at 360 degrees. I also wanted to reduce health & safety risks by taking away sharp edges. There would be 4 separate scenarios to work from like a game so four tablets/iPads are needed. But the game could also have one device or the piece could rotate around to face the child after each completion. Each scenario has its own environment which depends on the accident (e.g. a boy falling of the tree would have a forest scene) and they are divided up to keep the devices tracking only one marker.
So it will look like this:
Quick Sketch of idea
The device points to both the marker and the environment. From scanning the marker a character will appear. Each scenario will have its own little character guide depending on the accident. So if the accident is a burn, a little fire man will appear. As the device will be on a stand it will already show the character. It will say “tap me to start!” and the child will tap the character and an animation plays. After the animation I hope to make a task that the child completes to see if the child understands what to do in a similar situation. For example, as children aged 4-5 can learn to do up to 3 tasks I will be teaching 3 tasks in the animation then I could have 3 cards with graphics representing the 3 tasks and they have to put the cards in order of what to do first to last.
My character idea
I have been looking at all the beautiful origami out there and even made my own. But I finally decided that my character should have a mouth as it will be talking so I could animate this in 3D Studio Max. I folded a puffy bunny box which I thought looked cute and appealing to children:
I can model this design as a character once in Max and duplicate the same model with just the texture difference for each guide on each scenario. Half the body could have pants, the other a head with the ears/eyes/mouth.
I found Suwappu an inspiration:
Character interaction with children
I plan on having my 3D AR characters speaking to the children as at 4-5 years old they are only just starting to learn the letters of the alphabet. At age 4 they know and understand 1500 words and they are constantly improving their vocabulary and knowledge. But I need to look into the amount of sentences a character can speak, terminology and images which are ok to say/use in relation to first aid (e.g. blood) and what they would understand. I plan on making little animations which interact with the pop-up/origami scene that the children can watch to learn first aid. There will also be a little guide character for each scenario I make. I plan on making more interaction so the children can engage more.
Character activity within the scene
My supervisor told me that it is possible for the models to hide behind the pop-up/origami scenes by placing a wall (which is in the shape of the model the character is hiding behind) at the coordinates of the pop-up/origami piece. To do this I will need to measure the distance from the marker to all the pieces of pop-up/origami in the scene. This will help me figure out the basically the translation position of my model when coding in my index.php. I need to look more into this though.
I also realised that if the characters are speaking and the 4 scenarios are close to each other, then there is a clash with the sound on all 4 devices. I will have to use headphones to solve this problem. I have been researching children using headphones to make sure its ok in schools to use.
I found this product online (£10.95 ex VAT):
“A pair of padded headphones, which have been designed with Primary education in mind. The smaller size is suitable for four years and older. Padded head band for comfort and foam earpieces which have been designed to cover the whole of the ear to minimise outside noise and to increase comfort.”
I also noticed schools using headphones for P1 children:
P1 children using headphones
The main concern is the volume levels affecting the children’s ears so the headphones will have to have a volume limit to ensure their safety.
Size of the pop-up/origami piece
When considering the size I need to take into consideration how much can fit in the device screen and to ensure any pop-up/origami pieces which will be used as a prop will be seen on the device. So the main focus of the piece needs to be within the vision parameters of the device. But I can still build the piece bigger with background elements to make it more visually appealing. The piece will also be on table so the children can sit on their chairs.
The app is free for the school to download onto their devices and easy to search the correct channel and get started. I just have to provide the school with the QR code to my AR or ‘Publish’ my channel so they can find and use the channel. NOTE: When you publish your channel it will take 3-5 days for the Junaio team to approve the channel. I also found out the app uses a lot of power to run so it is likely that the device the children are using will need to be charged regularly depending on the usage amount.
Most of all I want this to be fun, engaging and stress-free for children but at the same time they are learning which is my main aim and focus.