Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) donated two K.I.C.K.'s - Kids Interactive Creation Kiosks - to the Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute of the Universidade da Madeira. One is installed at the Hospital Dr. Nélio de Mendonça in Funchal and one is for the MET program at UMa/MITI.
A team of ETC students working with the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh designed the K.I.C.K. in 2006.
Known as Team ER, the team of 3 students created an original touchscreen and software suite to engage children and their parents in a creative way while they waited to be seen by a doctor. Their goal was to create an experience that would alleviate the stress and anxiety produced when visiting the emergency room. The project outcome proved so successful that upon graduation, the team created Electric Owl Studios, a start-up company and an ETC’s spin-off.
The official dedication ceremony for the hospital was conducted on October 12, 2011, to acknowledge the donation and installation of the K.I.C.K. in the children’s emergency room of the hospital.
Honored guests included Dr. Francisco Jardim Ramos, Regional Minister for Social Services; Professor José Manuel Castanheira da Costa Rector of University of Madeira; Dr. Miguel Ferreira, Hospital's Clinical Director; and Dr. Pedro Ramos, Director of the Emergency Services.
Michelle Macau, ETC Visiting Faculty, gave a demonstration of the various content on the K.I.C.K. and expressed ETC’s desire to share the interactive kiosk with the hospital thereby establishing a link between ETC/MET/MITI/UMa and the community of Madeira.
Regional Minister Dr. Ramos thanked the ETC for the donation saying that this gift will reduce the suffering and anxiety that children experience during the waiting period in the pediatrics ER room. The Regional Minister said that thanks to the interactive experiences, the young patients will be able to forget for a while about the reason that lead them to the hospital. He also emphasized the great effort that the hospital staff applies to provide solutions for the children's health problems.
UMa's Rector, Professor Castanheira da Costa also spoke saying that he was quite happy with the quality of the regional health service and with their openness to new solutions such as this one. He mentioned that this equipment is part of an international partnership that started a few years ago with top-renowned Carnegie-Mellon University, which has been quite fruitful for both the University and the Region.
Professor Macau also played a short video sent by Electric Owl’s Phil Light, who expressed their regret for not being able to attend the ceremony. He thanked the hospital and said what an honor and privilege it was to have K.I.C.K. in their waiting room supporting the children and parents who of necessity would be visiting there.
Other guests included Professor Pedro Campos, Vice-President of M-ITI's Board, Professor Monchu Chen, Director of MET at MITI, and Dulce Pacheco, Project Manager, MITI; several doctors and nurses of the Pediatric Services, and various members of the local press.
The other K.I.C.K. will stay at MITI where MET students will use it as a development platform to create unique animation, games, puzzles, and other interactive content.
Mother & Child play with K.I.C.K. at the hospital while waiting to be seen by a doctor.
Article Written by Michelle Macau
Photos by António Pedro Dias Gomes