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Dude's Magic Box!

Young pre-literate children naturally interact with objects in their environment.

Dude'sMagicBox! takes advantage of this by providing a means for these pre-literate children to communicate with other members of their family that don't live with them in their home, such as their non-custodial divorced parent or their grandparents.

By placing an object in the box and closing the lid, a picture of the object is made and displayed on the touch panel monitor that is attached to the box.

Here we see the touch sensitive display in detail. There is a picture window showing what is in the box, a door for Dude to enter the room, picture-mailboxes for both grandparents, a microphone for the child to record his voice and a trash can to throw away unwanted images.

To mediate the communication, a character named Dude is employed. Dude, an animate character with a variety of behaviors and a synthesized speaking voice, is built in Squeak, a language developed and promoted by Alan Kay. After the lid is closed, he is seen "walking" through the box where the objects are located...

...opening the door...

...and arriving in the room carrying the picture.

By clicking on the microphone, the child can record his voice.

Once releasing the microphone an icon representing the recorded speach appears near the microphone.

The speach icon can then be clicked and dragged...

...and then dropped onto the image. This attaches the voice recording to the image so that when it is sent to a grandparent or non-custodial parent, they can replay it.

This assemblage of image and voice recording can be clicked on and then dragged...

...and dropped onto the mailbox of the grandparent or non-custodial parent.

This causes the assemblage to be sent to the person whose mailbox it is dropped on.