The Cuebe (from Project 'Schaukasten' 2017-2018)

The Cuebe was designed as a therapeutic toy and acts like a ‘reading stone’ for colors. That is, a child affected by low vision can place The Cuebe on whatever surface he or she likes and the device will ‘amplify’ the color of this surface by actively illuminating it with bright multi-color LEDs. The device or toy was built as part of the Schaukasten project.

It aims to provide a toy design that supports the goals of Early Intervention specialists and fits the needs of the visually (and often multiple) impaired children. The major goals our design pursues are:

a) to deliver stimuli appropriate for therapeutic training in the context of Early Intervention and b) to support Early Intervention specialists with a toy to inspire the creation of play activities in order to uphold motivation of children exercising.

The bottom of The Cuebe acts as a button as its surface is mounted on springs/magnetic suspension and can be pushed inwards (2mm). Children can use the device by placing their hands on top of The Cuebe, pushing it, and thereby “updating” The Cuebe's color by activating the color sensor, which is located at the bottom's surface. It is reading the color continuously, as long as The Cuebe gets pushed down. After a child releases his or her hands The Cuebe keeps glowing with the same color until the next push.

Test video of Cuebe v0.5


Test video of the next two generations


Build Instructions for Cuebe V2beta


  • This research was funded by "Gemeinsame Gesundheitsziele aus dem Rahmen-Pharmavertrag, eine Kooperation von österreichischer Pharmawirtschaft und Sozialversicherung".
  • Sketching credits: Peter Fikar


  • Fikar, P., Ganhör, R. and  Güldenpfennig, F. (2017). Multimodales Spielzeug für Kinder mit starker Sehbehinderung. Work presented at IKT-Forum'17.
  • Fikar P., Güldenpfennig F., and Ganhör R. (2018). The Cuebe: Facilitating Playful Early Intervention for the Visually Impaired. In International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interactions (forthcoming). PDF.
  • Güldenpfennig, F., Fikar, P., & Ganhör, R. (2019). A Tangible Color-Picker Toy Designed for Young Children: Balancing Physical Properties and Play Elements Through Design. Workshop paper for CHI'19, Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Florian Güldenpfennig, Armin Wagner, Peter Fikar, Georg Kaindl, and Roman Ganhör. (2019). Enabling Learning Experiences for Visually Impaired Children by Interaction Design. In Haptic Interfaces for Accessibility, Health, and Enhanced Quality of Life. Troy McDaniel, Sethuraman Panchanathan (Editors). Springer.