A musical instrument for children of labor

Changing behavioral patterns through altering experiences

MuseWheel is the product of one year of working with underprivileged children who were working on streets of Tehran. As you could see here I had creativity classes along with teaching the first grade of elementary school for several years in Kousha Children NGO. After one year I felt that some recurring behavioral patterns could be traced in most of them and it encouraged me to do more research on the problem. I was questioning the reasons for these patterns and eventually the ways a designer could step in with some interventions and change them to healthier and more proactive patterns.

Many of these traits root in the feeling of unfulfillment. These children spend most of their time on the streets making money of a job that not only adds to their knowledge and skills but also takes away their opportunity to study, play, socialize and learn. Also they are surrounded with by a society of older people, dealing with adult issues before experiencing the gradual learning of the skills for that. This takes away their a sense of pride which they try to get back any time possible from others by any means. That means more fights with other children at school or less interest in collaboration with the closest adult; their schoolteacher.

This is where I was inspired to design, not only a product but a service, a setting, an appropriate environment for children of labor in which they can accomplish certain tasks and learn necessary skills to maintain their special needs in life.

MuseWheel is the final and sample product of this designed environment. As I worked on the interactions in a game-therapy program for children of labor, I thought of designing a musical instrument that could be played with ordinary physical agilities like running, jumping and crawling.

Since this group do not have the essential time and resources to learn special playing skills for an ordinary instrument, and music is an important tool in game-therapy; MuseWheel would encourage users to create and compose music without knowing anything about music. It would also deliver this notion that one can accomplish meaningful tasks by what they normally do in their everyday life, outside of social definitions of education and knowledge.

Winter 2011
Thanks to Seyyed Reza Mortezaei for advising me in this project.
Bachelor of Industrial Design thesis at Iran University of Science and Technology
In collaboration with Kousha Children NGO for children of Labor in Tehran
Participated in RedDot Concept Design Awards 2011