Award Sustainable Playground project

Simon van Anken, a student of Industrial Product Design, has won the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences’ Sustainability Prize with an outdoor play object commissioned by the Amsterdam-based design agency Reggs. Van Anken’s winning object is an interactive, LED touch-screen, set into the top of a picnic-like table, on which children can play simple computer games or make digital drawings. Directly around the screen are four sets of foot pedals with built-in generators. All the energy that the screen needs to operate can be produced by pumping the pedals up and down.

Taco Schmidt, Design Manager at Reggs: ‘At the moment, the biggest competition in getting children to play outside is the indoor digital world that Internet offers. By developing outdoor products with a similar, computer-like interface and driven by energy that the players themselves generate, we can get these children out of the house and active in ways they’ll enjoy.’

The starting point for the design of this sustainable play object was Reggs’ unique vision of product development. This looks beyond the economic value of a product to the social value it could also offer in terms of environmental or energy issues. As a design agency, Reggs often works with clients and partners on developing products that are inherently sustainable.
Jop Timmers, Senior Design Consultant at Reggs: ‘We try to make children as well as adults aware of the fact that energy has to come from somewhere – it has to be generated. This awareness is created when, by their own physical movements, they create the energy that’s necessary to power the game. You want to play again? You have to have energy for it first! The message is clear and convincing – and the kids are having healthy fun while they’re taking it in.  I think that’s a very sustainable combination, and it’s an honour that Rotterdam University thought so too.

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