Dorotea Panzarella was born in Palermo in 1985 and grew up in Cefalù. In 2004 she enrolled at the University of Palermo and in 2008 completed her Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design with a visual identity project for the Mandralisca Cultural Foundation. She also partecipate in Erasmus programme, attending the FHNW – Hochshule fuer Gestaltung und Kunst in Aarau (Switzerland). In 2008 she enrolled at the IUAV University of Venice and moved from Palermo to Treviso for attending product design classes. In 2011 she completed her Master’s degree in Product Design with a degree project named “Emmo – An interactive toy for visually impaired children”. Now she still live in Treviso working as freelance and collaborating with other design studios, mainly in the consumer electronics design field.
Emmo. Interactive toy for visually impaired children
The project has been developed after visiting some rehabilitation centers (in Padova, Trieste and Bolzano) and interviewing families of low vision children. Emmo is especially meant to motivate spatial exploration and helping children to develop the capability of creating mental topological maps. The toy includes lighting and sounding elements for a kind of “treasure hunt” and space-related “memory game” and it’s based on RFID technology. Shape, materials and colours (black and white) has been studied in order to meet low vision children needs. A first prototype has been realized in rapid prototyping; it works thanks to the Arduino UNO microcontroller and other electronics elements (audioshield, RFID readers). Emmo was presented at the Arduino Day 2011 in Rome and an article about Emmo was posted on the Arduino official blog.