The art of waiting: Introducing ScreenPlay, the interactive waiting room for kids

May 18, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
Waiting in a doctor's office or hospital can be a very stressful experience for children and their families, particularly when the child has a disability. Some pediatric waiting rooms provide toys to distract children and relieve anxiety and boredom. However, toys can spread infections and are often not accessible to kids with disabilities.

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto now offers a safe and fun waiting experience for visitors to its second floor: ScreenPlay! A large projection wall that children and adults can interact with via a pressure-sensitive floor, ScreenPlay is a one-of-a-kind installation. Kids of all abilities can play and create with ScreenPlay.

"With Screenplay we have an exciting intersection of family-centered care, engineering, art and health research, yielding a one-of-a-kind collaborative project with strong potential to enhance the client and family experience at Holland Bloorview and beyond," says Tom Chau, Director of the Bloorview Research Institute.

Developed by a multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Elaine Biddis, Scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute and Professor at the University of Toronto's Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME), ScreenPlay was recently awarded a CIHR grant. It works like this: The installation's pressure-sensitive floor is comprised of 100 brightly coloured tiles. Kids can step or wheel across the tiles on foot or with their mobility devices - to generate, grow and shift colourful images on-screen. "The longer you stay in one spot, the bigger the projection," Biddiss explains. This means that those with the least amount of mobility are able to create the largest images. The floor also promotes collaborative learning: multiple children can play together on the floor to create wall-sized forests, for instance.

Biddiss notes that Screenplay was a "very collaborative effort," between engineers and students from the Ontario College of Art and Design, who designed the projector images. The initial idea for the project was inspired by the memory of the late Dr. Tammy Kagan-Kushnir and funded with the support of the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Foundation.

Screenplay Launch
Friday, May 18th 10:30 12:00 p.m.
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabiliation Hospital, 2nd floor waiting room
150 Kilgour Road
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Interviews possible with Dr. Elaine Biddiss. Dr. Tom Chau, and participating children and their families.

Media Contact
Genevieve Scott
Communications Manager
Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
416.425.6220 ext. 6409