Exploring Non-verbal Communication of Presence between Young Children and Their Parents through the Embodied Teddy Bear

  • Kaisa Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila
  • Tomi Haustola
  • Jonna Häkkilä
  • Minna Karukka
  • Katja Kytökorpi
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7683)


Young children are emotionally dependant on their parents. Sometimes they have to be apart from each other, for example, when a parent is travelling. Current communication technologies are not optimal for supporting the feeling of presence. Our goal was to explore the design space for remote communication between young children (4-6 years) and their parents. More specifically, we aimed at gaining user feedback to a variety of non-verbal interaction modalities using augmented everyday objects. We developed the Teddy Bear concept and created an embodied mock-up that enables remote hugging based on vibration, presence indication, and communication of gestures. We conducted a user study with eight children and their parents. Our qualitative findings show that both children and parents appreciated Teddy Bear for its non-verbal communication features, but that some aspects were not easily understood, such as gestures for strong emotions. Based on our findings, we propose design implications for mediated presence between young children and their parents.


Child-parent communication presence interaction modalities embodied interaction augmented everyday objects concept design user study 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaisa Väänänen-Vainio-Mattila
    • 1
  • Tomi Haustola
    • 1
  • Jonna Häkkilä
    • 2
  • Minna Karukka
    • 3
  • Katja Kytökorpi
    • 3
  1. 1.Tampere University of TechnologyTampereFinland
  2. 2.Center for Internet ExcellenceUniversity of OuluFinland
  3. 3.Nokia Research CenterOuluFinland

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