Creating Affording Situations: Coaching through Animate Objects

Christopher Baber, Martin Russell, Alan Wing, Joachim Hermsdorfer, Ahmad Khattab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
185 Downloads (Pure)


We explore the ways in which animate objects can be used to cue actions as part of coaching in Activities of Daily Living (ADL). In this case, changing the appearance or behavior of a physical object is intended to cue actions which are appropriate for a given context. The context is defined by the intention of the users, the state of the objects and the tasks for which these objects can be used. We present initial design prototypes and simple user trials which explore the impact of different cues on activity. It is shown that raising the handle of a jug, for example, not only cues the act of picking up the jug but also encourages use of the hand adjacent to the handle; that combinations of lights (on the objects) and auditory cues influence activity through reducing uncertainty; and that cueing can challenge pre-learned action sequences. We interpret these results in terms of the idea that the animate objects can be used to create affording situations, and discuss implications of this work to support relearning of ADL following brain damage or injury, such as might arise following a stroke.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2308
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number2308
Early online date11 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2017


  • animate objects
  • activities of daily living
  • tangible user interface
  • affordance
  • multimodal cueing


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