Speculative piece on physical playgrounds
For: Technology for installation arts
In our contemporary society, our experiences are increasingly mediated by screens, from video games to television shows. These digital realms, composed of vivid pixels, captivate us, subtly diminishing our inclination to step outside and engage in physical interactions.
In my neighborhood, where children abound and a playground is readily available, it's striking to observe its frequent emptiness, even on days graced with perfect weather.
This observation led me to ponder: How can we reignite children's interest in outdoor play? What could motivate them to embrace the joy of playgrounds once again? Reflecting on my own childhood, filled with outdoor adventures, I realized that the key lies in revitalizing the allure and vibrancy of these playground spaces through means that are more accessible for modern children.
MiniPlayground hopes to use a VR like experience plus actual mechanical motion of the playground equipment to make children want to play with a real-life playground. Mini Playground is portable and adds to the experience of the playground with its portability.
MiniPlayground transforms traditional playground experiences into an interactive digital journey. It's an assembly of diverse playground modules, each equipped with a miniature camera, offering a first-person perspective of the play equipment in action. Users can control these modules using their smartphones, mimicking the actual physical motions associated with each piece of equipment. For instance, to activate the swing module, users swing their phone back and forth, emulating the real-world action of swinging. The initial concept also integrates a feedback loop, utilizing sensors to capture and replicate real playground dynamics onto the modules.
The camera on these modules are taken from a digital ear wax remover that comes with integrated software. Small and portability is important for Mini Playground thus this of the shelve invention makes prototyping this experience very convenient. First prototype is made out of simple foam core (right image).
Color combination and the form of the Mini Playground has to be eye catching, as the goal is to firstly mimic the design on an actual playground and secondly capture the attention of the viewer to invoke a sense of playful action. This module features a accelerometer that is connected it's respective module. User can use the suction cup on the accelerometer to attach it to his or her phone. Future iteration will simplify this experience with software.