The Interactive Playground

On behalf of Creating 010 in Rotterdam, me and my study group were asked to come up with a concept to improve the living environment in the neighbourhood of Vreewijk in Rotterdam. Within this area, there’s an empty piece of land, which was causing nuisance. The client indicated that the goal for this project was to create more atmosphere and expression in the neighbourhood, what played a major role in shaping the concept for this project.

 

This project was carried out by a project group containing four people. My role in this was to create a concept and test it with the target group.

The problem

In order to create a suitable concept for the target group, we first did research to the wants and needs of the local residents. Through interviews, it became clear that there was a lack of playing areas for children.

Field Research

The solution

To come up with an innovative concept, we had decided to put our focus on urban interaction design and smart objects. This had led to the final solution of an interactive playground. This changed the target group for this project to children between the age of 6 and 12 years old, as this is the age range most kids are allowed to play outside on their own.

Locatie voor het concept

Glowground: Follow The Lights

Glowground is an interactive floor, containing colourful, luminous circles. Lots of games could be played on Glowground, but we’d decided to focus on one in particular, called: Follow The Lights. For this game, you need to stand on as many luminous lights as possible in a short amount of time. Every light you touch counts as a point. The more lights you touch, the higher your score.

Prototype 1: The flashlight

To see if the playground would affect the target group, we had made various prototypes. Our first prototype was to imitate the game Follow The Lights, by turning a flashlight on and off at random locations in a dark room, and letting the participant touch the lights within thirty minutes as quickly as possible. The results were very positive, which was decisive for us to continue with this direction of our project.

Visualiseren

For the visualisation of Glowground, we had made various setups of the circles. We eventually decided not to place the circles next to each others, but instead, further off each other, at random distances. This seemed better for the dynamics in the game, as participants now need to run to and from the luminous circles. We also wanted to create circles in different sizes and colours, to give it a more playful effect.

Sketches

Visualisation of Glowground, made by Masja Pelser

Prototype 2. The circles

For the second prototype, we wanted to test the setup of the playground, by spreading circles of different colours and sizes on the floor. The results were very positive: the kids kept playing on it and even invented their own games. This was a very interesting insight to us, as this could lead to a feature for kids to make up their own games on the playground in the future.

Prototype 3: Arduino

To test the technical functions of the Follow The Lights game, I created a responsive prototype, using an Arduino. The installation contained a light on each side with a button linked to it. The lights went on at random, and went out when you pushed the corresponding button. At the same time, a timer went off. The amount of correctly pushed buttons in the certain amount of time visualised the high score.

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Poster

In order to present our concept to the client and other interested parties, I had made a poster, with a brief explanation of our concept.

 

Click on the button below for a better view on the poster as a PDF

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