KonneKt – A social game for isolated children in hospitals

Published on January 21, 2014

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KonneKt is a game which allows isolated children in child hospitals to play with their peers. It transforms the window between their isolation rooms and the hallways from a barrier into a canvas for play.

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KonneKt is a finalist of the international Interaction Design Awards (if you like the concept, you can vote here, and has also been nominated for the Conceptual design for innovation for healthcare award.

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A KonneKt game consists of a large set of soft foam shapes which can be attached to the windows, using suction cups and magnets. The magnets encourage social play, because there need to be players on both sides of the window to use them. The shapes can be combined in different ways to play games such as Tic Tac Toe, chess or to play challenging ‘catch me if you can’ games. Due to the modular nature, it is suitable for different kinds of play.
KonneKt has been developed in close collaboration with several hospitals in the Netherlands, and with the help of hospitalized children. To gain insight in the world of hospitalized children, a special interview method, a game, was developed. The game consisted of different envelopes with questions and assignments in them. For example, children were asked to use stickers to make a floor plan of their hospital room, and to indicate their favourite and least favourite spots. While tinkering, questions were asked by the interviewer to expand on subjects.

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The insights of the interviews were used for concept development. One of the major problems found was the lack of social contact for isolated children. Isolation is a lot more common than was expected on forehand! Deprivation of social contact for young children can seriously harm normal social development. Also, different types of play were found. The types of children were divided into ‘Adventurers’, ‘Gamers’, and ‘Tinkerers’, who each had their own type of preferred play. The end result of the project had to be suitable for each of those play types!
After several brainstorm sessions, it was decided to develop a game which could be played on the windows of their rooms. Through several iterations and tests with children, eventually, KonneKt was developed.

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KonneKt is currently being prepared for large scale production. The foam shapes will be lasercut, and the magnets and suction cups will be injection molded.



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