Peek A Boo

Peek A Boo
surveillance use in intimate environment
Key words : Physical prototyping, screen prototyping, critical design,
Skills used: Physical computing, Flash prototyping, electronics,

Peek A Boo Prototype
Screen shoot of the parent view

Baby’s crib at the exhibition at Sandretto Museum,
Turin, 2004
Baby’s view

In 2004, Peek A Boo, Done In IDII with Collaboration with Hitachi , touched many issues that this project does.

The researches Erez Kikin-Gil and Oznur Ozkurt asked addressed in their research the thorny issue of the use of surveillance in the home environment, and explored the implications of pervasive technology on parent-baby relationships

The team designed a system composed of a web cam, speakers, a microphone, and motorized toy, all connected it to a web service that allows remote access and control over the different elements, including the motorized toys. This way, the system allowed parents not only to watch over their loved ones while they are remote, but also to “play” with them.

Imagine Francesca, a single parent, and her relationships with her infant child, Bruno.

Francesca works as a consultant, a job that pays her bills but keeps her at work or away from home for long hours. As she leaves for work each morning, she gazes at Bruno’s face and promises to come back soon. Unfortunately, too many times, has she looked at her watch and understood that it would be yet another endless day, where she would have to break her promise again. It was no surprise that she found “Peek-A-Boo” to her liking. “Be at home while at work”, the adverts said. She looked down at the brochure, and read aloud the slogan above the telephone number: “Don’t miss your son’s smile ever again”. She had the company technicians install the system the next day and she hoped it would work properly.

The following day, she got into her office and logged in to her “Peek-A-Boo” account. The first thing the system displays is a photo. Bruno’s face was glancing through the screen. Francesca took the microphone and started talking to Bruno. She could see him looking around the room, searching for her. He was reaching his hands anxiously towards the speakers as she contained talking. Understanding that he could not find his mom, Bruno started to cry. Francesca stopped talking and pressed the music activation. She could hear the music coming from Bruno’s room. Francesca moved the mouse towered the virtual joystick and started to play with Bruno’s mobile. As he calmed down and a big smile lit up his face, Francesca relaxed. Maybe it is not such a bad solution after all, she thought.

Will the ability to be always on and never alone deprive us from being together for real?

Will mediated connectedness convert life experiences in to superficial abundance?

This work was exhibited at the Sandretto Museum,
Turin, 2004

This work was done with the help of Hitachi , and IDII.


  • Faculty Lead: Walter Aprile
  • Design lead: Dave Slocombe & Natasha Sopieva
  • Prototyping advisor: Yaniv Steiner

Hitachi Design Center:

  • Peter Hohmann, design director
  • Mr. J. Watanabe, Hitachi Human Interaction Laboratory, Tokyo
  • Mr. Hoshino, Hitachi Human Interaction Laboratory, Tokyo
  • Sergio Paolantonio, interaction designer HHIL

Done with InstantSOUP and Wiring


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