Student Projects

Tilde Bekker – Research Topics

Playful Interactions for ChildrenPlayful Persuasion for Older Adults

Sports motivation , field labs and business models (Pro-fit) -

Designing for & with children - Evaluating technologies for children

Playful Interactions for Children

The aim of projects is to design innovative toys and games that stimulate physical and social play, using as an inspiration source both ideas from game design and opportunities of new technologies, such as sensors and actuators. We follow a user-centred design research approach which combines knowledge about child development, game design and persuasion.


·         The Intelligent Play Environments project (I-PE) is a project funded by FES (Ministry of Economic Affairs) which aims to create playful solutions that stimulate primary school students to be more physically active. The main goal of the project is to explore whether and how children can be activated to social and physical play by embedding gaming concepts into physical concepts. The project will run from 2011-2015. It is collaboration between the TU/E and the TU Delft, Department of Industrial design. Partners in the project are Kompan, Almende, Sportcomplex Eindhoven Noord (SEN), PatchingZone and the Stichting Sports and Technology. See the introduction video for a quick overview of the project.
·         The Technology Toolkits for Schools project aims to explore how design based learning can contribute to children developing digital literacy and 21st century skills in a school context. Through multi stakeholder development process a Design Based Learning Approach (DBLA) will be developed that combined the requirements values of the different stakeholders (e.g. children, parents, teachers, published and government). It is funded by the municipality of Eindhoven.


·         The Play-Fit project is a project done in collaboration with the Fontys University of Applied Sciences funded through a Raak-pro grant (2010-2014). It aims to create playful solutions that stimulate secondary school students to be more physically active. The main goal of the project is to explore whether and how teenagers can be activated by translating aspects of gaming into physical concepts. Others partners are Ranj (serious game design), E-fit zone, IT-wrks and NISB.


·         The SixPac project aimed at using social media and games to stimulate sports, play and physical activity in public spaces, in collaboration with Fontys University of Applied Sciences (May 2012- August 2013).


·         The European M4all project, on designing Kinect-based games for children with special needs (December 2012 – December 2014).
·         The project on ‘Intelligent Playgrounds’ (2008) is funded by the Creative Conversion Factory, and aims to iteratively design a concept that will be used for design research. The research focuses on how to motivate children to physical and social play. Two designers, Bas Groenendaal en Rik Wesselink, are designing intelligent concepts through an iterative process with frequent input from children and other stakeholders. The project has resulted in working prototypes, which have been handed over to business partners.
The projects are also done through Industrial Design student projects.
The GlowSteps are an open-ended play solution that allow children to create their own social and physical games (developed within the I-PE project by Linda de Valk and Pepijn Rijnbout).
Selected publications:

·         Valk, L. de, Bekker, T. and Eggen, B. (2015) Designing for social interaction in open-ended play environments, International Journal of Design, 9 (1), 107-120.

·         Bekker, T, Valk, L. de, Eggen, B. (2014) A toolkit for designing playful interactions: the four lenses of play, In Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments (JAISE), 6 (3), 263-276.

·         Valk, L. de, Bekker, T. and Eggen, B. (2014) Drawing up the rules: Encouraging children's rule creation in interactive open-ended play, International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction, 2(4),  120-129. [doi:10.1016/j.ijcci.2015.07.002]

·         Tieben, R., Sturm, J., Bekker, M.M., and Schouten, B.A.M. (2014, accepted). Playful Persuasion: designing for ambient playful interactions in public spaces. In: Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments.

·         Greef, K. de, Spek, E. van der, and Bekker, T. (2013) Designing Kinect games to train motor skills for mixed ability players, in Proceedings Games for Health 2013, October, The Netherlands, 197 -206.


Playful Persuasion for Older Adults

The aim of the projects is to examine how intelligent concepts can motivate older adults to do activities that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. We assume that people can be seduced to certain activities if the design incorporates playful features, such as appealing to curiosity and providing challenges.

·         The project on ‘Independent Living’ (2009-2010) is funded by the Creative Conversion Factory, and aims to iteratively design a concept that will be used for design research. We are creating concepts that support social and physical activity of older adults. The partners in the Independent Living project are: Philips Research, TU Eindhoven, Orbis, Devlab and NH Hotels. We have designed a concept called The Activator, that provides feedback about physical activity and social proximity to older adults living in a care home. Furthermore, it provides information about upcoming activities in the home. We have conducted a field study to examine it’s use in a care home context. 

·         We are also conducting design cases to examine how to design tangible social network solutions for older adults. The intention is to create solutions that support older adults to stay connected to family and friends. The projects are done through Industrial Design student projects.



paper concept5



The Activator concept, which provides information about upcoming activities.




·         Romero, N.A., Sturm, J., Bekker, M.M., Valk, L. de and Kruitwagen, S, (2010) Playful Persuasion to support older adults’ social and physical activities, Special Issue on Inclusive Design, Interacting with Computers, 22(6): 485-495.

·         Bekker, M.M., Romero, N.A., Sturm, J., de Valk, L. and Kruitwagen. S. (2010) Persuading Older Adults’ to social and physical activities. ISG 2010, International Society for Gerontechnology 7th World Conference, Vancouver (Canada), May 27 – 30.

·         de Valk, L., Kruitwagen, S., Bekker, M.M., Romero, N.A. and Sturm, J. (2010) Activator: Playful Persuasion to support older adults’ social and physical activities. ISG 2010, International Society for Gerontechnology 7th World Conference, Vancouver (Canada), May 27 – 30.


Sports Motivation, Field-labs and Business Models (Pro-fit)


Color - JPG - Logo Profit sm

The ProFit project combines technology, sports and health through the development of sport field-labs. These are locations where companies can install new sports and play products and have them tested by the citizens as prime users.




Afb Pelin value design canvas

ProFit is funded by the European Union, under the Interreg IVB North West Europe programme.  ProFit aims to stimulate innovation and new business creation in the sport sector by developing an EU network of field-labs focused on sport. The field-labs will be located in urban communities where citizens can engage in innovative sports activities.

A supportive research programme provides scientific rigour to the development and operation of the field-labs and products.  The programme will cover:

1) assessment of user needs through a 'context mapping' approach, which will establish the foundation for each field-lab;

2) development of the data collection methods and systems to measure user-product interaction;

3) assessment of economic impact; and

4) development of a model for future field-lab development.


Participating universities are Sheffield Hallam University, University of Ulster, Eindhoven University of Technology, Delft University of Technology and Howest (University College West Flanders).

Initial design case studies have examined how to design play solutions for children and how to involve stakeholders in social innovation sessions.



·         Gultekin-Atasoy, P., Lu, Y., Bekker, M.M., Brombacher, A.C. & Eggen, J.H.E. (2015) Exploring the complex: Method development by research through design. In: The Proceedings of 11th European Academy of Design Conference: The Value of Design Research. April 22-24 2015. Paris Descartes University Institute of Psychology, Boulogne Billancourt, France.

·         Gultekin Atasoy, P., Bekker, M. M., Lu, Y., Brombacher, A.H. & Eggen, J.H. (2013). Facilitating design and innovation workshops using the Value Design Canvas. In H. Melkas & J. Buur (Eds.), Proceedings of the 3rd Participatory Innovation Conference, Lahti, Finland: LUT Scientific and Expertise Publications, pp. 111-118.

Designing for and with children

Various projects address how to design technologies for children, for example by examining how children can be involved in early design sessions, and how designers can incorporate knowledge from child development in design.

·         Wouter Sluis-Thiescheffer is doing a PhD project on comparing early design methods for 8 to 12 year old children. Wouter is developing a tool for predicting how suitable early design methods are for children based on the skills that are required to participate in design sessions.

·       Work done during my sabbatical in 2010 in collaboration with Dr. Alissa Antle at the Simon Fraser University in Vancouver (Canada) has resulted in a card-tool, called the Developmentally Situated Design tool containing knowledge from child development for making design decisions.

You can request a paper version of the DSD card set at [m.m.bekker at tue.nl].


Selected publications:

·         Barendregt, W. and Bekker, T. 2013. Exploring the potential of the drawing intervention method for design and evaluation by young children. In CHI '13 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '13). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 193-198.

·         Bekker, M.M. and Antle, A. (2011) Developmentally Situated Design (DSD): Making Theoretical Knowledge Accessible to Designers of Children’s Technology, CHI 2011 conference, Vancouver, Canada. (.pdf)

·         Sluis-Thiescheffer, W., Bekker, M. Eggen, B. Vermeeren, A. and de Ridder, H. (2011) Development and Application of a Framework for Comparing Early-Design Methods for Young Children, Interacting with Computers, 23(1), 70-84.

·         Thang, B. , R.J.W. Sluis-Thiescheffer, M.M. Bekker, and J.H. Eggen (2008) Comparing the Creativity of Children’s Design Solutions Based on Expert Assessment, Proceedings of Interaction Design and children, June 11 - 13, Chicago (USA), 266-273.

Evaluating technologies for children

Many evaluation methods exist to evaluate products for adults. We examine whether these methods can also be used to evaluate products designed for children. Furthermore, we develop new evaluation methods that are especially suitable to involve children in evaluation sessions. Finally we also develop expert evaluation methods to support experts to predict problems in children’s technology.

Wolmet Barendregt did a PhD project that examined observational methods to determine usability and fun problems in children’s computer games. Another research project by Ester Baauw developed a predictive evaluation method SEEM to predict usability and fun problems in children’s computer games.



Wolmet Barendregt evaluating a computer game using the Picture Card Method (Foto/Bart van Overbeeke)



Selected Publications:

·         Barendregt, W., Bekker, M. M., (2008) Development and Evaluation of the Picture Cards Method, Cognition Technology and Work, 10(2), 95-105,10.1007/s10111-007-0066-z.

·         Bekker, M.M., Baauw, E. and Barendregt, W. (2008) A Comparison of two Analytical Evaluation Methods for educational Computer Games for young Children, Cognition Technology and Work, 10(2), 129-140, 10.1007/s10111-007-0068-x.

·         Barendregt, W., Bekker, M.M., Bouwhuis, D.G. and Baauw, E. (2006) Identifying usability and fun problems in a computer game during first use and after some practice, Int. J. of Human-Computer Studies (64), 830 -846.