Emotional intelligence is one of the skills that have been shortlisted as critical skills for personal and professional success in the 21st century. In this project, our aim is to create an experience to develop this very special skill in young people. Rumie is a bedside lamp that helps strengthen emotional intelligence by establishing a routine of self-reflection and imagination in children age 3-6. The complete package consists of a lamp, a storybook with removable shapes and a tablet application. As this is a bedtime device we chose to take a ludic approach and not include screens in the main interaction.
When it is time for bed, a child and parent or caretaker will read the book together, responding to prompts and questions to discuss their feelings. The child is then guided to select shapes that correspond to these feelings and place them on the lamp. When the story is finished, the lamp is activated and shadows from the chosen shapes are projected on the wall, creating an enchanting experience in which the child can bask in introspection in the minutes before falling asleep. Through the app, the parent can access a range of functionalities, including brightness settings and new content. However, due to concerns about excessive screen exposure in young children and the interference of late-night screen use with normal sleeping patterns, we elected to have the app function in a ‘behind-the-scenes’ capacity. In other words, the app enables the parent to control the ‘magic’ of the device without having to introduce a tablet into the daily bedtime routine.
Interface and Interaction Modalities
In line with our “no screens before bed” strategy, the main user interaction happens directly on the device itself. Shapes are selected from the book and placed into rotating channels to create moving shadows. On the sides of the Rumie there are two ribbon sensors that respond to sliding touch, which are used to adjust the color and brightness of the lamp. A large illuminated button on the back of the device activates the system. The secondary mode of interaction comes in the form of a tablet application, which gives the parent or caretaker an additional way to manipulate the device from a distance. From this app it is possible to adjust the timer and brightness of the lamp to better fit the needs of the child and their bedroom environment. The app also makes it simple to download additional content and stories.