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Transforming handwashing into a game
Fun Palaces, a project to promote shared creativity
Book: The architecture of happiness
- Eye on Design
Games exist in our lives not just for entertainment, but also for learning. There is even a particular term for this methodology—“edutainment”—which is an approach that offers an ample field for creativity for many designers and architects, since the goal is not only to create an attractive object, but also a useful one. Well-known examples deal with toothbrushes and accompanying apps that encourage children to brush their teeth correctly, or tableware in the form of cars and planes that make teaching a child how to use a spoon and fork into a game.
The primary goal behind the design of Bubble Bump was to help children cultivate the habit of cleaning their hands through play. Their infantile habit of exploring the world via tactile interaction significantly increases the risk of infection. Although the current pandemic affects primarily elder generations, younger ones are oftentimes asymptomatic carriers unaware they are putting others at high risk.
And how are you going to make children constantly wash their hands? Obviously, they find it very boring to wash their hands with soap for 40 seconds straight (as advised by the World Health Organization). Explaining the nature of microbes and viruses does not help much either, as it is difficult for children to imagine what they are and why they are dangerous because they have never seen them.
In Russia, when parents teach children hygiene, they sing songs from cartoons to involve the child in a fairy-tale world with superheroes named Sponge, Soap and Towel who will unquestionably defeat the treacherous microbes. Children learn about the world around them in a playful manner. While playing the game, hygiene is no longer perceived as something boring or forced. The key is to get your child interested in such an unusual activity. Thanks to positive associations, self-care can quickly turn into an everyday habit with edutainment projects.
Bubble Bump is a sanitizer that transforms handwashing into a game. The main proximity sensor is triggered when children put their hands close to the device, which releases soap bubbles containing disinfectants. Children pop the bubbles with their hands and thus disinfect their hands. Any modern antibacterial gel helps kill up to 99.9% of microorganisms, which is much more effective than conventional soap.
The device also performs contactless body temperature measurement to let the parents know if they need to take timely precautions in case of potential infection and it features replaceable cartridges containing the disinfectant liquid and a refill indicator. If necessary, some other features may be added to it in the future. For example, displaying indoor humidity and temperature, or mini games on the display screen.
Bubble Bump is expected to be installed in places frequented by young people such as kindergartens, children’s clinics and game rooms at approximately 900 mm above the floor. Special floor coating is not required as the device is designed for public spaces, which in turn should already be equipped by either slip resistance tiles (coefficient R9 to R11) or carpet suitable for commercial spaces. In any case, it should be installed at the entrance and quite far away from areas where children usually play.
Bubble Bump was designed during the pandemic and it was a challenge that had to be solved as quickly as possible. Today more than ever, there is no doubt about the importance to transfer and promote certain hygiene habits in the little ones, so the use of didactic and ludic tools as Bubble Bump can be relevant in their development as responsible adults in the future.
Main image: Bubble Bump releases disinfectant soap bubbles when kids put their hands close to it, Jumpthegap® 2020 Special Edition selected project. Image courtesy Alina Pshenichnikova