i-Theatre is a novel integrated interactive system for story-creation and multimedia storytelling dedicated to young children of 4-10 years old.
Transportable and modular, featuring a design inspired by the ‘wagon-bag’ of the wandering storyteller, it shows from the first glance its personality of being a tool for narration.
Made in its essential component of birch wood, by warm and homely feeling, and featuring an interface-to-digital made of tangible objects, it reveals itself to be a fundamentally composite object, created out of the delicate search for a marriage between nature and technology, in its twofold vocation of toy and educational tool.
In its conception i-Theatre is designed as an instrument to support children during all the creative activity: from the preparation of characters and backgrounds, drawn with their chosen technique, to the transformation into digital form and the subsequent creation and sharing of the animation movie.
In this way, i-Theatre provides the missing ‘puzzle piece’ in comparison with current technology systems: the elaboration and manipulation of physical materials in the real world, with the slow rhythms necessary for listening and sensibility, essential to awaken the aesthetic-sensorial perceptions at the source of the creative process.
The basic ingredients of the story – characters and backgrounds, at least – are prepared in the physical world and, only afterwards, the extraordinary potential of the digital ‘come into play’ in order to support the animation making in a simple and intuitive way (thus avoiding the abstraction and complexity of common software tools): everything in a single integrated system.
Furthermore, i-Theatre emerges from the innovative vision of a collaborative learning environment: an environment to foster the sharing of knowledge and relationships, avoiding that technology may become self-referencial.
The model of interaction behind the system is in fact not anymore person-machine as commonly diffused (or, at best, person-machine-virtual representation on the web), but person-person physically present in an environment where technology can be used and shared simultaneously by many users.