Autumn's Portfolio

Colour Wheel Mat

An interactive colour mixing mat teaching colour theory


Colour wheel map is an interactive map aiming at teaching year 1 student colour theory as an assistance of their school courses.

Problem Space

The problem space is derived from creative learning, which is the main theme of our team domain. Creative learning includes the development in child’s social, academic and emotional areas. It facilities children’s ability in complex problem solving, self expression, active collaboration and innovation.

Meanwhile, as the Australian curriculum states, it is essential to introduce technology into class. According to the studies, the best year to establish the creativity of children is from Pre-Foundation to Year one, which is set to be our target audience group.


My solution in this domain is to use an interactive colour mat to teach children colour theory. There will be a colour wheel on the mat which includes primary and secondary colour, and a screen which is used for graph display. By mixing two primary colours, the user can get a secondary colour. Similarly, by mixing a primary colour with a secondary colour, the user can get a tertiary colour.

Using the colours on the colour wheel, either the default colours or the ones they’ve got by mixing, the user can fill in the blank graph and make it a colourful one. Children can experience colour mixing in the process. At the same time, they will gain an intuitive experience of using primary colours to produce second and tertiary colours.


The interaction of Colour Wheel mat is intuitive and exploration encouraging. On the interactive mat, there are primary and secondary colours. However, user cannot use secondary colours to fill in the graph until they are activated. The method to activate secondary colour is by mixing primary colours to produce them. Users need to step or press their hands on the colour wheel mat to choose colours. After mixing or choosing one colour, the paint bush will change to the colour they chose or mixed, and then user can use it to paint the graph.

Final Product

This is the introduction and demonstration video of the final product.

Colour Wheel Mat

An interactive colour mixing mat teaching colour theory

Design Process Timeline

In the 13 weeks journey, my team and I developed creative colour learning concept around the common problem space . Each of us have a specific individual focus. Here is the design process of mine.


Initial Poster (from classmate)

In the world cafe session, our team picked a common problem space as Creative Learning. Among all the concepts in this domain, we targeted teaching kids colour knowledge as the main focus.


Initial Team Concept (by Michelle)

Our initial inspiration comes from the game Twister, which is a physical training game for kids. We developed the game based on the idea of our team domain and came up with Twisted mat.


Initial Individual Concpet

Due to the transformation to online learning, our team decided to build our individual projects based on the same domain. My initial concept is a radial concept that requires multiple users to play together.


Individual Concept Revise

After research I found that just randomly choosing does not help kids understand colour theory by mixing colours. So I reduced the colours to RGB colours and changed the shape into circle surrounding the user with direction panel inside.


Individual Concept After Appraise

After appraise I got the advice that RGB are the primary colours for light which is not suitable for the target user year 1 students. And I changed it into the primary colours of painting. And referenced colour wheel to develop my concept.


First Prototype

I used Arduino, soft button and neopixels to build my first prototype. When the user press one colour, the corresponding colour turns on. But this version does not have the colour mixing function. Also, the Unity part is implemented but not successfully connected with Adruino.


Final Prototype - Interface

In the final project, I designed a marine life habitat using Illustrator and showed it on Unity to be painted.


Final Prototype - Ardunio

This is how I managed my Adruino wires.


Final Prototype - Testing

The colour filling function worked well in testing session.

Product & Experience

The product is aiming at providing the intuitive and open-ended experience for young kids of colour mixing. We are aiming at help children gain colour knowledge, nurture their creativity and bring out an approach of creative teaching. In this process, we assume they can have a good experience interacting with technology, cooperating with peers and having fun.

Blank interface

Technical Support

Colour Wheel Mat is technical realized by Arduino and Unity. In Arduino, the six circuits are paralleled. Each of them correspond to a digital pins input, which composed a string of six integers. In Unity, the program reads the string and tell if each of the circuit is connected. And translate the RGB colours to CMYK colours to consist with the colour theory in painting. Underneath each touch pad of the colour wheel, there is a cooper tape and a small piece of cardboard. Once the colour pad is pressed, the Arduino circuit will be connected, and Unity will translate it into the mixed colour and show it on screen.

Arduino code

Ideal & Actual

As I mentioned before, the ideal product should be a REAL mat where children can stand on and play with. However, the actual mat is a medium scaled one where it would be more suitable for kids to press with their hand than stepping on which is limited by the small range of activity. Moreover, our team assumed the mat to be a large scaled one at the beginning of the semester, which will enable kids to stretch themselves or cooperate with others to simultaneously press two or more colours. However, due to the scale of the final product, multiplayer mode is feasible but not in necessary.

Demo pic

Team Pitch Video

This is the pitch video of our team in the first round.

First Prototype Video

This is my cenceptual prototype at early stage.

Colour Wheel Mat

An interactive colour mixing mat teaching colour theory


I designed an interface showing marine creatures that can be coloured in using physical colour pads. By pressing the colours on the colour pad, users can choose colours and mix colours to produce a new one. Also, there is a digital colour wheel on the left top of the interface. It can be considered as a reference of the colour mixing result, and also can be used to get colour without the physical colour pad.

The problem domain of our team is to encourage achieve creative learning. In the process of testing among adults, users reckoned it is interesting to press on the colour pad to choose colour and colour in the marine creatures. And as it is observed, users were concentrated when trying to press simultaneously to mixing colour. Also, users will communicate with each other when they want to mix three or more colours together. It is cheering that the criteria of the design intention is met that communication is naturally happened in this process.

Even though I successfully met the requirements and outcomes of the initial project. There are several differences between the ideal product and final product.

In the scale aspect, the final prototype is smaller than the intended one. So far, the radius of it is about 0.3 meters, however, the intended prototype would be as far as 1 meter. As we discovered in background research, physical playing helps enhance children’s playing memory, and cooperative work helps develop children’s group-oriented statement and high-level negotiation strategies. I want to include these two research results in the design of my product. Because the target audiences are 4-6-year-old children whose height is around 1.1 meters, it needs to be big enough for them to stretch themselves and hard to reach some colours as a requirement of cooperation. The final product is a desktop version which is more suitable to press on using hand rather than stepping on. Still, it needs cooperation if a user wants to mix three colours or more. Even though the final product is not a full version one, it still contained the concept of cooperation.

The screen is also limited by scale. In the virtual exhibition, I used my laptop screen as the screen for the Unity-based interface. Ideally, it should be projected to a screen where children who take the class are able to see.

In the functionality aspect, the core concept of colour mixing is realized though I did experience difficulties in the process. In the final product, one or two or more colours can be chosen to mix if they are pressed within 0.5 seconds. This makes the colour mixing a bit challenging but at the same time not too frustrated for users to give up. One that still has space to develop is that the cursor is controlled by mouse now. But if it is projected on a screen, it is apparently not a good idea of using mouse. It would be a good idea to have a direction keyboard in the middle of the colour wheel. And the part that is chosen on the screen will have a broader stroke as an indication.

In the interface aspect, I designed one ocean theme for demonstration. The product could have more themes for kids to play around. As the aim of my concept is to design a technological tool an assistant for different course, the graph to be coloured in could be customized according to the need of classes. In a literature class context, the graph could be one illustration from the textbook. Teacher can instruct kids to retell the story after they painted the illustration.