IDC 2016

Design & Research Competition

Let's invent the future!


In the first phase of this competition children all over the world were invited to submit their ideas for future technologies. We extracted common themes and interesting concepts to distill three design challenges for the IDC community to work on.

We now open the second phase and invite researchers and designers to submit a design concept (not actual artefacts) to one of the three challenges in the form of a two to four page summary, accompanied by any supplementary files (drawings, sketches, photos, video...) until 30 April 2016.

A jury (tba) will select the best submissions that are

  • the most innovative,
  • speculate about future technology in interesting ways,
  • raise (research) questions for the field, and
  • are well designed and presented.

Important Dates

  • Submission deadline 30 Apr 2016
  • Notifications to winners 13 May 2016
  • Presentation at the conference 21 - 24 Jun 2016

Presentation & Prize

The winning designs will be presented at the conference in Manchester, UK, including national press coverage and separate space in the conference programme. They will also be included into the conference proceedings and archived in the digital library of ACM, and we will invite the winners to contribute to a special issue in the International Journal on Child Computer Interaction.

The award ceremony will take place during the conference dinner.

Challenge 1 - Embodied Learning

A number of children described ideas in which they were immersed in their learning material. They envisioned computers with holograms that created interactive worlds around them.

So you have all the books in a litlle micro chip and when you open one book its characters come out and tell you the story. It's images get alive and you can also join in to become part of it.
(Leo, Leo, Jack from Leonardo da Vinci, Lugano, CH)

Experiential and embodied learning has long been recognised as effective and motivating, drawing on pragmatist and constructivist learning theories. While research projects have begun to explore how to use technology to facilitate such engagement (e.g. here), our thinking has been driven by what technology is able to create today. What if, however, we are not bound by such constraints? How could embodied & experiential learning support look like in the year 2030?
Design a technology that is situated in school and facilitates embodied & experiential learning.

Challenge 2 - Companion Robots

The robots are coming. And children have some ideas what they should be able to do:

It dances (Ben) - Picks up rubbish (Malacht) - Help people (Alex)- You can only see this robot if you wear these [glasses] (Faith) - Cloths come out and [it] puts them on you (C - all The Blessed Sacrement School, Preston, UK) - you press a buttom on the robots head and then you say clean (Priya - Allendale Columbia School)

Human-robot interaction (HRI) has become a field in its own right and some works have explored interaction with children (e.g., here.). But in 2030, what are the roles of robots and what relationships do they have with children? Do they become companion technologies? Play partners? Little Helpers?
Design a robot that children interact with, describe its role and why every child would have one.

Challenge 3 - Communicating through your Hands

Communication devices have arguably been one of the main innovation drivers and have shaped our relationship with technology like few other technologies. Many future communicators have been envisioned in science fiction, but in our call for challenges, children had a few new ideas:

What does it do? If you press a button, you get anything you want
How do you use it? put it on your hand and don't mess
(Rafal, The Blessed Sacrement School, Preston, UK)

Smart phones have become ubiquitous and often the first digital technology children come in contact with (in America 38% of kids under 2 have used a mobile device - Commonsensemedia). While media consumption plays a big role for very young children, communication becomes more important as children grow older, e.g. nine in ten teens in Germany use WhatsApp (eMarketer). If we think about the year 2030, what are the communication needs of children and which form will communication take?
Design a communication device for children.

How to Submit

We ask researchers to write a two to four page summary of their design using the CHI Extended Abstracts Template (2016).

Every submission should contain the following information:

  • Author names and contact details
  • Related work and inspirations to put their design in context
  • Rationale for design decisions
  • In which ways the design is innovative, thought provoking and raising (research) questions.
You are encourage to submit any supplementary material such as sketches, drawings, photos or videos alongside your submission. Send your files to For large files, e.g. videos, email us and we will provide you with a link to upload it directly to our servers.

Note: All materials submitted are only used in relation to this competition and the copyright remains exclusively with the authors.

Our Partner Schools

This competition would not be possible without the inspiring input from children and the great help from teachers and researchers who facilitated the collection of ideas.
We would like to thank:

  • Istituto Leonardo da Vinci, Lugano, Switzerland
  • The Blessed Sacrement School, Preston, United Kingdom
  • Allendale Columbia School, Rochester, New York, USA