The set contains a round carpet, different textile leaves, and interaction cards that can be complemented with wireless electronic modules to engage with a tree’s life throughout the four seasons. A group of children puts together the tree’s story provided through the interaction cards while leaving enough room to accommodate the children’s creativity to extend or change the tree’s adventures. The kit also includes textile insects for more playful interactions in its current version.
At least one child is in the center of the carpet, acting as the tree. The others enact the story by following the instructions on the provided cards. Thereby, Treesense provides three different levels for exploration: 1) the Explorer mode suitable for beginners or younger children without the need for adding and programming electronic modules yet, 2) the Creator mode for children who make their first steps with including the electronic modules and easy programming tasks, and 3) the Wizard mode for children who are already familiar with the programmable modules and engage with more advanced coding.
The idea behind the project
The idea behind the Treesense project is to engage children with how a tree perceives the world and to introduce them to the concepts of hardware and software playfully. The design team behind Treesense combines their expertise in e-textile and wearable technologies, playful design for children, and embodied interaction design. With a network of partners, such as technology companies offering STEM education, museums, schools, theaters, etc., they developed this interactive soft embodied experience kit to provide children with informal and playful learning activities. Bodily and social engagement is in the foreground to empathize with a tree's world perception. The Treesense kit is suitable for different settings and environments, ranging from private play at home over integration into school lessons to public community events.
Contribution to the New European Bauhaus initiative
In the Treesense project, ‘beautiful togetherness’ is understood as an aesthetic, sensory experience of being linked with others' (non-humans') feelings. This creation of empathy will lead to a more ‘sustainable’ future because being more connected to nature improves people's daily lives, helps them care for the natural world, and leads to more sustainable consumption. Through their sensory bodies, children will increase environmental awareness. At the same time, Treesense promotes physical activities and draws children away from computers to engage them in embodied and tactile experiences. Treesense will further be ‘accessible’ to children in different places, regardless of their physical, mental, societal, or financial status.
Free University of Bozen-Bolzano