Time Machine: Creating a Mixed Reality Experience for Children

M.P. Nieminen and J. Viitanen (Finland)


HCI case study, user-centered design, user-centred concept development, mixed reality, tangible user interfaces, museum exhibition design.


This paper illustrates a series of user-centered concept development experiments where emerging mixed reality technology was used to create engaging demonstrators targeted to children for a public exhibition in a science center. There were three specific points of view that made the process both demanding and motivating: A challenging context of use (science center), an unfamiliar and less studied user group (children) and new emerging technology (mixed reality). During the iterations, the understanding of these viewpoints deepened, and the mixed reality features in the developed concepts evolved from excessive wearable mixed reality experience via a tangible multimedia booth into a more minimalist and holistic conclusion. Four different teams were able to leverage on their predecessors’ findings and learn about the limitations of developing and evaluating concepts utilizing a technology unfamiliar to the users. The final outcome of the iterative development was the Time Machine – a captivating and easily approachable demonstrator of mixed reality. Technology-driven featurism had transformed into a more comprehensive user experience.

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