November 24, 2007
Reading for November 27th, are now posted. Enjoy!

October 2, 2007
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May 24, 2008
This site has been archived and is no longer editable. Stay tuned for the next version, coming in the fall!

Children's Potty Party

Project Members: 
Anirban Sen
Aylin Selcukoglu
Katherine Ahern
Elmo's Potty Party
Tangible Potty (for potty training)

Problem space:
Kids aged 18 months to 4 years old often have problems with transitioning from diapers to going to the bathroom on the toilet. This often results from pressure, fear of the toilet, and just not being able to associate the feeling of having to relieve themselves with actually going. For some kids bribing/incentives work but for others this does not.

Several education aids already exist on the market either online or as
Potty Games online – Sesame Street Elmo game
Potty time stories (books)
Potty “dolls” for boys and girls.
Fun pull-ups (incentive diapers)
But, none of these provide this reinforcement while actually ON the potty and IN the space.

Some Ideas:
Seat with more incentive for the child to use it correctly. Potty “game”.
Audio feedback - “Elmo” could tell a story while the child is on the potty so the child gets used to sitting on the potty and enjoys it.
Lights – make potty more attractive. This could also have the undesirable side effect of perhaps scaring the child.
pressure sensor, heat sensor – The potty will be able to sense when the child has sat down on the potty seat. It will also be able to sense the heat from the expulsion of fluids and the body heat form the child.
can provide feedback to parent - send text to cell phone – cue parent that it happened, track progress

Future Developments (or even current work):
LCD/video screen so child can sit on potty and watch Elmo (could watch Elmo’s potty game)
Customizable 'skins' with Princess, Elmo, Barney themes.

metaphor – This project will fill the 'full' metaphor as it is an actual working potty.
embodiment – The embodiment will be multiple as we have multiple means of input and output.
environmental – the output affects the direct surroundings of  the user.
full – the output is the input device (input is the potty seat and since it has audio feedback embedded within it, it is the output as well)
nearby – if the LCD screen is implemented then the output is tightly coupled to the focus of the input
distant – if the potty texts the parent, output is going to appear on another screen

Elmo DMX – pressure and motion sensors would be able to tell when the potty has fallen over.
Needs assessment and usability study:
As this product is targeted towards a very young audience, a needs assessment study would involve an interview with the parents of the user children. A usability study would involve the actual children to find out what they are attracted to and what would potentially frighten them. 

potty3000.jpg149.71 KB


Objective - It's cool to

Objective - It's cool to point out that there is actually little that encourages kids to use the toilet while they transition from diapers to the toilet at the point of action!

System -- The digital nature of these computational systems may seem to afford much more than you have suggested. Can you think of ways that the digital system can further enrich the experience for the child? And it's a good point that what's missing is some sort of encouragement IN the space and AT the time of the action, but that isn't to say that you can't still design for what happens up to and after that point. Have you considered how you can make a coherent system for the whole potty process (e.g. from the time a child first notices -- or doesn't notice -- that he/she has to go) ?

Use-Cases - You have some very interesting use-cases described in your writeup, however, the interactions seem pretty simplistic and often involve some a single response to a single action, except for the game. Can you think of ways to make the interaction more involved (would you want it to be?)

Related work - There's a design of Japanese bathroom with animation, etc... Also consider persuasive technology? (BJ Fogg, or Stephen Intille -- How might your ideas relate to other domains?

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