Interactive environment that stimulates physical activity and play

Populley is the result of the Minor Interactive Environments 2012-2013 from the TU Delft. The design brief was to create an interactive playground for children in the Prinses Maxima Centrum. The main goal of populley is to improve the overall well-being of these children during their stay in the hospital, while contributing to the development areas ‘physical acitivity’ and ‘social skill development’. Populley is a suspended installation consisting of smiling creatures, which are connected to each other in couples by wires and pulleys.

The name of the installation is derived from the Latin words ‘populus’, which refers to the group of friendly creatures, and ‘pulley’, which refers to the mechanics and motion. When a creature is pulled down, the coupled one moves upwards. Changing the height of the creatures influences the soundscape and lights.
populley encourages children to be physically active and playful using movement, sound and light as feedback.

Populley is an interactive environment situated in a public space in the hospital and is targeted at children aged 6 to 12, but is enjoyable for people of all ages. Populley aims to encourage children to leave their room and give them a place where they are able to play and have fun. Children can adapt the environment by being physically active, thus stimulating activities such as walking around, running, stretching, crouching, pulling and pushing. Research has shown that these kinds of activities are beneficial for the overall health of the children. It keeps their joints flexible without physically exhausting them. The children are very restricted in their ability to be physically active. They have to carry a drips pole with them all day and are weakened due to the chemo therapy. Therefore, it is important that irrespective of what their condition is, they are able to enjoy the installation.

Exhibitions where set up at the Science Centre, IDE Faculty and ZOMERfestival in Delft. Children aged 6 and up generally understood the interaction and were running, dancing, jumping and playing together. They displayed lots of creativity while interacting with populley, some even inventing their own games!

Partners Bojana Dumeljic, Dolores Hilhorst, Mercedes Leipoldt, Mick van Rooijen, Nathan van Schoote, Edwin Sloot, Jeroen Ubels, Okke Willebrands, Maartje van Zon

Location Princes Maxima centrum, Utrecht, Netherlands

Date 01 / 07 / 2013