Novem is a 9-keyed mathematical companion that encourages visually impaired users to think critically and practise mathematical equations with music as an aid. It strives to make the learning experience enjoyable and create a musical soundtrack for children.

Team Domain

Our team’s overall focus is musically-enhanced learning for primary school children, under the theme of musical things. Music is proven to support learning experiences, creating a soundtrack for the activity, and enhancing the child’s ability to learn and retain information aided by music. Learning is not limited to formal education, but the learning of all things in life, contributing to the development of a child.

Individual Domain

From the physical build and functionality of the prototype, to the internal functionality, the concept aims to cater to the needs of visually impaired children. My individual approach is to look at catering for the needs of visually impaired children. Visual impairment can be broken into three main categories:
  • Low vision
  • Functionally blind
  • Totally blind
Those who fall within these categories can either have congenital or adventitious visual impairment, meaning it either occurred during or immediately after birth, or it has occured after having normal vision due to hereditary condition or trauma. Those who experience the latter may still have visual memory. Those who experience the former generally have difficulty mastering visually strengthened concepts regarding environment and spatial orientation. Music is known to have mood-altering effects and can help retain learned information. John Hopkins University suggests incorporating music into a classroom environment, which enforces a positive learning experience and improves memory; it creates a soundtrack for a learning activity, which is what the Novem aims to achieve. The form is primarily touch-based, with physical and tactile cues and audio as methods of feedback to ensure users understand the response of their actions. The form fits two hands, but can be played with just one, if the user prefers or requires. The keys are placed in such a way that users are not required to move around too much physically, and the two halves separate the two kinds of numbers. Each key has a different tune.