Olly 2019



Όλοι (pronounced Olly – from the Greek “All/Everybody”) is a sonic Tangible User Interface made in natural wool fabric and stretch lycra designed for a group of five minimally verbal children with autism to promote social play and provide self-regulation.

Olly is made by using an inflated therapy ball placed on a 3 mm felt base. The ball is wrapped in 3 mm felt sheets cut to shape by sewing together four slices of felt that adhere to the circular shape of the ball. The installation is topped with 5 stretchy lycra bands sewn on the top of the wool in which the ball it’s wrapped to form 5 coloured elastic ribbons.

The ribbons play different instruments. As they get pulled they activate a progression of 8 notes and enable the ‘user’ to play soothing melodies when playing in solo-mode. The more ribbons are pulled the higher in pitch the notes and the more harmonies emerge from the collaboration. With Olly, people are able and invited to form beautiful compositions. The intent was to have an enhanced sonic experience emerging from the collaboration of more players and given by the more complex sound combinations and the harmonious choice of sounds.

Olly, is being tested with a group of five children aged between 5 and 10 years for five weeks on Thursday afternoon. The study it’s being conducted in a state special school based in North-East London that offers a provision solely specialized on ASD for girls and boys aged between 2 to 16. We used Attention Autism and Intensive Interaction approaches to stimulate playful activities. The evaluation framework we developed was inspired by the SCERTS and by the teachers’ assessment measures.

Olly was exhibited at Ars Electronica 2019 in Linz, AT, as part of the Campus Exhibition of QMUL, between 5-9 September.