Rob Tieben @ Work

Swimgames.nl 2013: games in the pool

Once more, Menno Deen and myself organized the Swimgames.nl course. Students from Fontys ICT and TU/e ID developed interactive games for in the swimming pool, and evaluated them with real users in the Tongelreep. Impressive games, valuable user evaluations, and a lot of ‘fun for thought’.

More information:

  1. Video overview of the developed games: vimeo
  2. Photo impression of the course: flickr
  3. Swimgames.nl website: url

Wiggle the Eye (in development)

The schoolyard of a highschool in Eindhoven: five new benches, and a streetlight with a mysterious globe. During lunchbreak, hesitant teenagers take place on the benches, and discover that they can wiggle and balance with their peers. The globe appears to contain a moving light: when it is looking towards a bench, the bench suddenly starts to vibrate – to the hilarity of the teens.

Wiggle the Eye is an interactive installation at a schoolyard, with five wiggle-benches and a streetlight. By sitting, and wiggling occasionally, players can influence the behavior of the light, and let each other’s benches vibrate. The system’s behavior changes on a daily base; social and physical play is required in order to discover how one can influence the Eye.

Wiggle the Eye is being evaluated at the Rooipannen VMBO school in Eindhoven, in a four-week user evaluation. Initial results show vibrant and enthusiastic wiggling by the teenagers.

More information:

  1. Short movie of Wiggle the Eye | VIMEO
  2. News article in Cursor (in Dutch) | URL
  3. News article in ID-zine | URL

Course: games in the swimming pool

35 students from 3 education programs, 40 teenagers, a swimming pool, and 7 interactive games in the water: the course swimgames.nl was a great success!
In this course, developed and lectured by Menno Deen and myself, our students designed and developed interactive games in the swimming pool. Cameras, RFID readers, buttons: it was all added to the Tongelreep swimming pool, and evaluated right away by eager teenagers.

Hart van Nederland, a national news agency, also covered us in a news feature.

More information can be found at Swimgames.nl

More information:

  1. Video overview of ‘in-progress’ concepts: Vimeo
  2. Video overview of final concepts: Vimeo
  3. Hart van Nederland news item: HvN
  4. Course website & overview results: url

PlayFit Student Explorations

In the PlayFit project, I am - and have been - coaching several students projects at ID TU/e and Fontys ICT GD&T. In these projects, students design and develop prototypes to motivate teenagers to be physically active, based on the principles from the PlayFit project and my design-research.


The pictures show some examples of student’s explorations:

  • the LightScribe app, a mobile app that allows light scribing - painting with light. By Hanna Zoon.
  • dotMirror, an interactive mirror that visualizes your silhouette in a enhancing way. By Troy Reugebrink.
  • Bomb It, an installation in the swimming pool that records user’s jumps and bombs, and displays them on a large screen. By vd Bogaard, Donkers, Jacobs, Leenders, Verhoeven and v Woelderen.
  • Tea Seat, connected seats that allow playful sitting: movements on one seat, such as tilting, are translated to the other seat. By Al Abdeli, Janssen, Kersteman and Scheffer.

PlayFit Explorations

In the PlayFit project, which is closely connected to my PhD project, we try to motivate teenagers to become casually active through playful interaction. In other words, we design enjoyable installations in and around the school, that invite teenagers to start playing - and while playing, they inherently have to use their body. We call this playful persuasion.
Challenges for us are how to invite and elicit teenagers to start playing in an active way, and how to prolong the invitation and enjoyment for subsequent encounters.

The pictures show some examples of my explorations:

  • the Magic Mirror, a sort of funhouse mirror that distorts the mirror image. This installation was placed in a high school, and evaluated - teenagers explored and used it in various active and enjoyable ways.
  • Whisper Balls, small balls that can be used to record and play voice messages.