In today’s digital age, children are growing up with a deep familiarity and comfort in both the real and virtual worlds. As technology continues to evolve and become more pervasive, there is an opportunity to enhance traditional teaching tools with virtual reality (VR) devices. SQUASHY, a groundbreaking virtual reality wearable device for children, aims to bridge the gap between the digital and physical realms, offering a transformative formative education experience. By stimulating the five senses, SQUASHY replaces traditional teaching aids and introduces an exciting and immersive approach to learning.
Designer: Eunhye Sim
The application of virtual reality and digital technology opens up new possibilities for education, providing children with a broader and more captivating learning experience. SQUASHY recognizes that while digital education offers convenience and accessibility, it is essential to preserve and complement the unique aspects of reality-based education. The device seamlessly integrates virtual and physical worlds to provide a comprehensive educational experience that sparks curiosity and fosters engagement.
SQUASHY acknowledges the invaluable role of hands-on learning and the tactile experiences that traditional teaching aids offer. Clay, as a symbol of formative education, has the power to stimulate children’s creativity and imagination. With SQUASHY, children can experience the multidimensional nature of formative education by transforming virtual clay into desired shapes using their hands. By combining the freedom of self-expression with systematic guidance, SQUASHY empowers children to explore various formative gestures and processes.
Understanding the importance of comfort and accessibility, the creators of SQUASHY have taken into consideration the average hand size of 6-year-old boys and girls. The device’s size allows children to hold it effortlessly, regardless of whether they use one or both hands. This ergonomic design ensures that children can fully engage with the device, maximizing their learning potential and enjoyment.
SQUASHY’s training program offers a diverse range of forms for children to complete. With the guidance provided, they can learn step-by-step formative processes and gestures. The device incorporates a Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor within its silicon column, which recognizes the user’s hand motions to deform the virtual clay. Should the device lose its shape, a simple press of the top reset button restores it to its original circular form. This interaction is made possible by the integration of memory foam and an internal air blow device.
Charging SQUASHY is a hassle-free experience thanks to its magnetic coupling cradle. When the device is placed on the cradle, it securely connects and charges. Additionally, the cradle doubles as a Bluetooth pairing hub, allowing the VR device and SQUASHY to pair effortlessly. This functionality ensures that children can carry SQUASHY with them without the need for any further operations on the device itself.
One of the remarkable features of SQUASHY is its ability to bridge the gap between the virtual and real worlds. Children’s virtual modeling data can be 3D printed, enabling them to hold their creations in their hands and experience a tangible sense of accomplishment. This seamless integration of digital data with physical objects adds a new dimension to their learning journey, further enhancing their satisfaction and sense of achievement.
While SQUASHY offers convenience and state-of-the-art technology, it lacks the importance of children interacting with real materials in a natural manner. By introducing textures and encouraging the use of SQUASHY in conjunction with traditional craft lessons in schools, children can enjoy the best of both worlds. They can explore the convenience and creativity of virtual reality while still experiencing the tactile nature of real-world materials.
SQUASHY represents a transformative shift in children’s formative education, combining the immersive capabilities of virtual reality with the physicality of real-world experiences. By stimulating the five senses and seamlessly integrating digital and analog learning, SQUASHY offers a holistic educational approach. With its intuitive design, tailored size, and convenient features, SQUASHY empowers children to unleash their creativity, explore diverse forms, and embark on a captivating educational journey that prepares them for the evolving digital landscape while preserving the unique qualities of reality-based education.