Minor students’ concept Vika produced for Prinses Máxima Centre for Pediatric Oncology

News - 27 January 2021 - Communication

During the Interactive Environments minor of 2014-2015, a team of students developed a concept for an interactive environment entitled Vika. People from the Prinses Máxima Centre for Pediatric Oncology were involved in the course having provided the brief. So enthusiastic were they about the concept, that they managed to find funding to produce a hospital-worthy version which was installed in January 2021.

Vika wall is a good example of how designing inspired by and focusing on the user can lead to a fully-fledged product that helps to stimulate the development of children with cancer. It is an interactive wall designed for the waiting rooms of the Princess Máxima Centre. Vika wall consists of rotating panels that react to the movement of people walking or standing along the wall. The trick is that the number of panels that move depends on your height and movement: the smaller you are and the more you move, the more panels you set in motion.

This means that a child can move more panels than the parent standing next to the child. So a parent has to make himself small to achieve the same effect as his child. This not only stimulates the child to move more, but also gives him a sense of direction, control and more power over the situation. This is an important principle of development-oriented care within the Princess Máxima Centre, namely to stimulate the child's development as much as possible despite the impact of oncological treatment.

Students were given the assignment to design a product that stimulates young children undergoing cancer treatment to move more and at the same time give them a feeling of more control. In order to create this design, the students studied what these young children experience during their treatment and what they need through interviews and observations. The first design was then tested among the children and further developed. This further developed concept of the Vika wall stood at the Dutch Design week in 2015 in Eindhoven and was very well received.

The final Vika wall -  as it now stands in the Princess Maxima Centre  - was further developed and realised into a fully-fledged product on the basis of the concept prototype by engineering firm Heijmerink Wagemakers under the art direction of design bureau MMEK. The wall complies with the hospital’s safety and hygiene requirements. For example, the panels stop turning if you come too close. The Vika wall could be realised with aid from sponsorship funds.

Vika student team: Priska van Binsbergen, Ziran Chin-On, Moritz Fieback, Sharon Komen, Oukje van Merle, Daan Middendorp, Debbie Rouw, Iris Tol, Josine Vos
Coaches: Sara Ferrari, Aadjan van der Helm, Tomasz Jaskiewicz, Marco Rozendaal