Designing technology to promote physical activity in families with young children

Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Bernd Ploderer
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Professor Stewart Trost
Associate Director, IHBI (CCHR)
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health


The aim of this project is to engage with families with young children to design technologies that promote physical activity spread across the day.

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.

In this project we will explore how parents currently promote an active lifestyle, the technologies that they use, and the obstacles they may face to find the right daily balance of physical activities, sedentary behaviours, and sleep. Based on this knowledge, we will engage in participatory design activities, prototyping, and technology trials to promote a healthier lifestyle.

Research activities

This research project may involve the following activities:

  1. qualitative research through interviews, observations, and cultural probes to understand the lifestyles, technologies used, and needs of families with young children
  2. participatory design workshops to create technologies with families that promote physical activity
  3. prototyping mobile applications, tangible designs, Internet of Things applications, etc.
  4. field studies where families trial prototypes in their everyday lives


  1. Novel interactive technologies designed with and for families
  2. New human-computer interaction theories describing how these technologies influence physical activity
  3. Participatory design methods to engage parents and children

Skills and experience

We are looking for students with a strong background in human-computer interaction, ideally with an interest in qualitative research, participatory design, and/or prototyping.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact Dr Bernd Ploderer at for more information.