Study level

  • PhD
  • Master of Philosophy
  • Honours


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.

Research centre


Dr Bernd Ploderer
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science
Adjunct Professor Stewart Trost
Adjunct Professor
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health


The aim of this project is to design and study digital technologies that enable and support active play in families with young children.

To promote healthy growth and development, children aged 1-5 years should be physically active for at least three hours each day. This may include running, jumping and playful activities. With the current COVID-19 pandemic, many playgrounds, childcare facilities, and sports clubs are closed, which means that families look for alternatives to stay active.

In this project you'll explore:

  • how parents currently promote an active lifestyle
  • the technologies that they use
  • the obstacles they may face finding the right daily balance of physical activities, sedentary behaviours and sleep.

Based on this knowledge, you'll engage in co-design activities, prototyping, and technology trials with families to promote active lifestyles.

We're interested in exploring a wide range of possible technologies:

  • tangible technologies that promote whole-body interaction
  • digital games
  • voice assistants that promote story-based play
  • IoT embedded in toys and playground equipment.

This student project is part of a larger research project at QUT, which means you will be part of a team with experts in exercise science, creative industries, and human-computer interaction.

Research activities

This research project may involve the following activities:

  • qualitative research through interviews, observations, and cultural probes to understand the lifestyles, technologies used, and needs of families with young children
  • co-design workshops to create technologies with families that promote active play
  • prototyping mobile applications, tangible designs, Internet of Things applications, etc.
  • field studies where families trial prototypes in their everyday lives.


Upon completing this research, we expect to develop:

  • novel interactive play technologies designed with and for families
  • new human-computer interaction theories describing how these technologies influence physical activity in family contexts
  • participatory design methods to engage parents and children.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this project, you must have a background in human-computer interaction or interaction design, ideally with some experience in user studies and prototyping.

Experience in working with families and children is desirable.


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

Explore our research scholarships


Contact Dr Bernd Ploderer for more information.