BoostBeans (2017)

BoostBeans is a research prototype from the Schaukasten project and was created within a participatory design process to support children with cerebral visual impairment (CVI).

The design of BoostBeans draws on the idea of augmenting everyday objects with interactive technology. - It is motivated by observations we made studying the work practices of the CVI therapists: For motivational reasons, therapists incorporated children’s favorite toys into the training sessions and these toys acted as rewards. However, due to a lack of interactivity, these toys or objects were rarely part of the actual therapy sessions.

We identified this missed opportunity and developed an interactive means (the BoostBeans) to augment the children’s favorite toys or other everyday objects, enabling the therapists to make them a more integral part of the vision training.

The prototype for BoostBeans is comprised of a set of small objects (“beans”) that can provide tactile, acoustic, and visual stimuli . The beans can be triggered with different remote controls by the therapist or by the children. The below video shows us debugging a prototype of a 'puzzle remote control' for triggering beans.


Video of Puzzle Remote V1 debugging


Video of BoostBeans prototype V2




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



  • Güldenpfennig, F., Fikar, P., & Ganhör, R. (2017). Towards Interactive and Motivating Stimuli for Children with Visual Impairments. Paper presented at the British HCI. PDF.
  • Güldenpfennig, F., Fikar P., and Ganhör R. (2018). Interactive and Open-Ended Sensory Toys: Designing with Therapists and Children for Tangible and Visual Interaction. In International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interactions (forthcoming). PDF.