Dan & Tuomo


By | Dan & Tuomo, Design | No Comments



Physical interaction nutrition game

  • at: Fazer Visitor Center, Vantaa, Finland
  • by: Tuomo Tammenpää & Daniel Blackburn
  • for: Ateljé Sotamaa / Fazer
  • in: 2016 -> (ongoing)

Foodbuddy is a playful and educational game for encouraging the players in picking up healthy food on the lunch plate. Fazer Visitor Center visitor groups are guided around a big table full of various food items as small wooden blocks. The blocks are in six shades and categories: proteins, fibers, fats, veggies, drinks and miscelleanous snacks and treats. The task of the player is to pick up a plate, collect a meal and bring the plate to the nearby Foodbuddy robot. When placing the plate on the robots tray and pushing a button, the robot evaluates the healthiness of the meal, based on the current Nordic nutrition standards and gives out stars from zero to five, followed by compact breakdown of fulfilled categories. After this the player can try to improve the score or get playful with it.

Design process started from the design brief from Tuuli and Kivi Sotamaa from Ateljé Sotamaa. Few different play interfaces were explored. The “Food plate” as an interface suggested pie-chart style of physicalisation of a familiar way of describing ratios, however, this was impractical for varying ratios of the food categories. Simplifying food items to understandable representations required also some iterations, when the audience is multi-lingual and multi-cultural and of many ages. Marking the food item as as-generic-as-possible pictogram turned out to be the best solution in the end. Instead of color-coding the block / food categories, we went for more subtle choice with different wood types, from dark oaks to pale birches.

Foodbuddy is high-usage tangible-interaction game, which benefits from low-maintenance and high-durability from the technological solution and low learning-curve user experience, “just try it and you’ll get it”. Physical blocks with passive RFID tags are ideal for this task. Wooden blocks are a natural tangible interface for touch, familiar for all ages, and passive RFID tags embedded in them, makes them very long-lasting and inexpensive, even in volumes.

The content expertise was provided by Fazer nutrition expert Leila Fogelhom, Foodbuddy furniture and playing blocks were designed with Ateljé Sotamaa.

Energy blocks

By | Dan & Tuomo, Design, Prototype | No Comments


Energy blocks

Physical interaction math-game

  • At: Finnish Pavilion, Astana World Expo 2017
  • By: Tuomo Tammenpää & Daniel Blackburn
  • For: Ateljé Sotamaa / Finpro
  • In: Summer 2017

Energy game is an educational, physical interaction math-game commissioned to Finnish Pavilion in Astana WorldExpo2017 by Ateljé Sotamaa & Finpro. The game is played on custom table with tens of wooden blocks in different colours and values, and an embedded computer screen. Hidden, below the table surface, there is RFID reader that detects the tags hidden inside each playing block, enabling the computer running the system, to identify each block placed on marked play area. The player is asked to match the energy need of a city and by adding the values from the blocks in three different energy categories, solar, wind and hydro power (the colours of the blocks) she can try to deliver. If player adds up the tally with correct value in all categories in time, the game proceeds to the next level. The time speeds up, quickly becoming impossible to match the short play-time requirement for hundreds of visitors per day.


By | Dan & Tuomo, Design, Prototype, Workshop | No Comments



Modular, electronic game prototype

  • At: Bates Mill, Huddersfield, UK
  • by: Tuomo Tammenpää & Daniel Blackburn
  • for: Tuomo&Dan
  • in: 2004

TileToy is a modular, electronic game prototype for tangible LED game tiles. TileToy brings the flexibility inherent in digital software to a physical tile that people can touch and interact with. By arranging the electronic tiles, players can engage themselves in various kinds of game play, ranging from fast-paced arcade style games to puzzle an learning games.

The tiles are plastic cases approximately 2″ square. The main inspiration for the look and feel comes from the heyday of the LED, when plastic hand-held games ruled the gaming world. This retro-look is fused with a more modern minimal design. The minimalism enhances the magic of cordless boxes that simply communicate with each other. In TileToy, technology is sealed within the design. The interaction is based on tactile experience where no user manual is needed.

The flexible architecture of the tiles makes TileToy a versatile platform for development of various applications from several genres. Compared with traditional tile games TileToy can take advantage of such things as changing state, animations and games where the tiles can effect the state of adjoining tiles. Simple word games can be created where each tile displays a random letter and the players organize the letters into the longest word possible. Numbers and arithmetic characters can be displayed with the player having to arrange the tiles into a sum to give a specified result. Matching games are yet another way the tiles could be programmed to act as a learning aid. Applications can be developed also to utilize the tiles purely for display purposes to show patterns, animations or even live information.

The re-programmable and constantly updated graphical information on each tile is displayed with a LED matrix system. The screen displaying the information is an endlessly versatile surface for updated visual communication. Each tile is controlled individually and can be used to transmit information on its own or in groups of several tiles. The assembled tiles transmit wirelessly their individual position in relation to each other and based on that changing information, a central computer, or a dedicated tile runs the different applications.

TileToy is an open source software and hardware project, but from 2004-2005, and the lot of things has changed since then. Github repository is open but more for archival purposes. The basic idea should be still relevant and much easier and cheaper to make over decade later.