by Tatum Lau (MAUD ‘19), Xin Wen (MAUD ‘20), and Cindy Xiao (MAUD ‘20)

The current education system in Boston induced decades of segregation and community disputes. The occurrence of this phenomena creates unequal and uncollaborative learning spaces. To begin to address this issue, Hea-R-Us prompts introduce students to a new methodology of interaction, where they can befriend other children within their school bus or other school buses in the system.

In the school bus system, children of various schools and demographics are situated in the same vicinity due to the prearranged bus routes. Therefore, it is a platform where children from different backgrounds could interact and integrate. However, stuck in unpleasant school bus commutes, children find this time uneventful and irritating; some are even bullied. To ease the long commute time, typically 30 minutes to 3 hours a day. We would like to present a system that suggests new ways of communication, such as playing with sound to limit screen time and focusing on elementary school students to assist in prime cognitive development. Hea-R-Us is an interactive device which allows students to personally and socially benefit from a curated and engaging experience during the commute. In the future, the device will also allow the community to engage in producing new adaptable applications that could be used by the children during the bus time. This would bring awareness to what opportunities exist through cross-demographic interplay.