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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Robotics for Play and Health

Denmark is leading the development of robotics for play and health. At the Center for Playware, which was launched in August 2007, scientists from different disciplines are developing and testing intelligent hardware and software which produces play and playful experiences for young and elderly users. The Center for Playware focusses on a number of different application areas. Two of the them are playgrounds and health.

Playgrounds: Researchers at the University of Southern Denmark, who are linked to the Center for Playware, have built special playgrounds at two schools, two kindergartens and two youth clubs in Odense city using "intelligent tiles", a grid of pressure-sensitive floor tiles for playgrounds. Each tile has a small computer inside it, which measures the force of the child's foot and responds with either colored lights or sounds.

Health: The company Entertainment Robotics linked with the Center for Playware and the University of Southern Denmark has now introduced its "theraphy tiles" which guide patients recovering from surgery or injuries through physical routines and help them heal. Through these intelligent robotics the intention is for the patients to physically play their way to a full recovery.

Center for Play is part of The Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, the University of Southern Denmark, situated in the city of Odense. One of the key areas of growth defined and included in Odense Municipality's new trade, industry and growth strategy is "The playful/learning city". Thus the municipality emphasizes strongly the importance of developing robotics for play and playful experiences in this strategy.

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