SIAT graduate launches app on iOS app store

November 01, 2022
Zoe Dao-Kroeker with her newly released "I"m Fine Box Breathing AR App"

School of Interactive Arts & Technology (SIAT) graduate Zoe Dao-Kroeker recently launched an app now available on the iOS App Store. The app, called I’m Fine Box Breathing AR App, began as a solo course project from IAT 499 Graduation Project, a SIAT course that allows students to work on one in-depth, cumulative project over the course of an entire semester.

Inspired by Zoe’s experience developing evening programs for at-risk children at a community centre on the downtown east-side of Vancouver, the I’m Fine Box Breathing AR App is designed to help children work through complex emotions by guiding them through fun and engaging self-reflective practices.

“I found that some youths that I met had a hard time understanding how to control their emotions,” says Zoe.

One situation in particular stuck with Zoe, that of a young child who would burst into tears or be consumed by rage any time they were faced with a challenging situation they could not control. Through these experiences, Zoe recognized the need for alternate methods for young children to process and manage their emotions.

She also noticed a gap in the AR app market relating to social-emotional development with kids.

“Most AR apps on the market currently range from games, toys, animated filters, and very simple educational tools for younger children,” says Zoe. “There has not been much exploration into AR and social-emotional development with kids, which is why I believe using augmented reality in this form is an important way of engaging already digitally native kids in activities that demonstrate an alternate perspective to how they see their emotions.”

Three screen shots from the "I'm Fine Box Breathing AR App"

Zoe envisioned creating a digital product to complement the workbooks used in classrooms by the Look for the Good (LFTG) project, a non-profit which offers community-based healing strategies for elementary school communities.

In partnership with the LFTG project, Zoe developed 3D characters associated with four key emotions and inspired by LFTG’s Wiggle Warriors workbooks and training activities—Sad, Mad, Afraid, and Icky.

Using the app, children select what they are feeling and, along with one of the 3D characters, help each other work through emotional management techniques.

With the mentorship of SIAT professor Steve DiPaola, Zoe used human-centred design approaches to conceptualize, wireframe, map the user journey, prototype, design, and program the augmented reality app.

“Professor Steve DiPaola helped in supporting my ideas in the virtual and augmented reality space,” says Zoe. “The insights he gave to me about this digital space were very valuable and helped me grow my knowledge in this space.”

After graduation Zoe continued on with the project because she was inspired to make a difference in the lives of children through the mediums of technology and media.

“I believe that having an app like this in schools can really help kids work through feelings that are sometimes hard to face by using a digital medium that can be easier to relate to,” says Zoe.

The app, now available for download on the Apple iOS app store, will be featured on the LFTG website and be used within schools by educators across the United States.

Download the app here
Learn more about the app: I'm Fine Box Breathing AR App