Playware is the use of technology that creates those leisure activities we normally label play, i.e. intelligent hardware and software that aims at producing play and playful experiences.

Playware is a new research area under development and there are still only few researchers in the field. The interdisciplinary research center is a joint venture between Technical University of Denmark and The Danish School of Education, Aarhus University. The Center combines human-robotic interaction, especially modular robotics, and modern artificial intelligence with humanistic research on play, learning, arts, design and especially play culture.

Our goal with the close collaboration between these research fields that traditionally are dissociated is to establish the center as an internationally leading research hub on playware, which we define as intelligent hardware and software that aims at producing play and playful experiences among users of all ages.

Combining theoretical research & empirical studies

Research into playware is based on close interplay between pure research, empirical studies, and experimental research in real life settings with users via prototypes. Our research projects range from digital toys and interactive playgrounds for children and young people, through new kinds of learning materials to welfare technology such as physiotherapy and rehabilitation for the elderly.

Examples indicate that the use of a playware perspective on technology may allow the creation of technological artefacts, which motivates the users to perform certain activities, e.g. physiotherapy, social interaction, physical play, etc. Specific examples of such development include physiotherapy for cardiac patients, therapy for elderly with dementia, cognitive rehabilitation, sports training, creativity development in Africa, physical play on playgrounds, audience interactivity at music concerts, and novel experiences of smart materials in art - examples which are being elaborated in the practical work of the Centre for Playware.