Scottie is a means of play for children that are separated from their family and friends. Computers and phones are limited to the use of verbal or text based expressions. Affective communication and feeling connected over distance is established by playing together. Scottie facilitates remote play and communication in an implicit and affective way.

Scottie was further developed within the Innovative Pilot Healthcare of GATE (Games research for Training and Entertaiment). It aimed to explore the possibilities of creating virtual intimacy through play with physical objects. Target users were hospitalized children, ten to fifteen years old, and their relatives and friends. The first challenge was to develop a playful gaming and communication tool. The second challenge was to research whether Scottie actually increases feelings of connectedness between hospitalized children and their loved ones.


Prototyping throughout the design process not only served to evaluate ideas with users, it also helped the designers to develop new interactions. The final Scottie prototype looks like an abstracted human figure. This figure serves as a representation of dear ones and also has an appeal in itself. Scottie facilitates two forms of play: creating light patterns and creating sound patterns.

Large scale use of Scottie

Since the early test results were positive, large scale adoption and use of Scottie became a serious option. A customized version of Delft University of Technology’s Experience Sampling methodology was used, allowing the researcher to record feelings and emotions real-time. The gathered quantitative and qualitative data was analyzed and the results disseminated.

In addition, potential exploitation models were researched and possible business partners were mobilized in a planned producition. Waag cooperated with TNO to study the development of (social) exploitation models for GATE projects.


This research project was supported by the GATE project, funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and the Netherlands ICT Research and Innovation Authority (ICT Regie).

Project duration

31 Aug 2007 - 1 Apr 2010




  • TNO
  • HKU
  • TU Delft
  • Stichting CliniClowns Nederland