KidCAD: digitally remixing toys through tangible tools

Sean Follmer, Hiroshi Ishii


Children have great facility in the physical world, and can skillfully model in clay and draw expressive illustrations. Traditional digital modeling tools have focused on mouse, keyboard and stylus input. These tools may be complicated and difficult for young users to easily and quickly create exciting designs. We seek to bring physical interaction to digital modeling, to allow users to use existing physical objects as tangible building blocks for new designs. We introduce KidCAD a digital clay interface for children to remix toys. KidCAD allows children to imprint 2.5D shapes from physical objects into their digital models by deforming a malleable gel input device, deForm. Users can mashup existing objects, edit and sculpt or draw new designs on a 2.5D canvas using physical objects, hands and tools as well as 2D touch gestures. We report on a preliminary user study with 13 children, ages 7 to 10, which provides feedback for our design and helps guide future work in tangible modeling for children.

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