River of Grass (Interactive Exhibit) by Formula D interactive CC
2017 - 2018, Golden A' Interface and Interaction Design Award Winner
The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science in Miami commissioned us to create a largescale audiovisual interactive exhibit to teach very young visitors about the Florida Everglades and its inhabitants. We wanted to provide as many interactions with the digital animals as well as the environment itself to inspire learning. We designed the interactions around games children of that age are familiar with, such as hide and seek, and elements that could be easily grasped such as the damming of water.
The River of Grass is an interactive, educational and immersive in-room virtual reality exhibit created using 16 projectors and 7 networked motion detectors to control procedural animations in the custom a 3D application. Targeted at toddlers, the exhibit provides a host of playful interactions within the digital wildlife along with custom props that affect the digital environment to stimulate understanding of the Everglades and its inhabitants.
Design Challenges
The main challenges in designing and producing the interactive exhibit included the technical challenges inherent in motion tracking and water dynamics as well as designing for young children. Internal factors included distance, working with and coordinating various local and international contractors and getting them to understand and align with the design objectives. Safety standards laws, material specifications and accessibility were also a challenge.
Production Technology
One of the major hurdles to overcome was using the Kinect to track the location and orientation (vertical and horizonal rotation) of our torch/spotlight props. We ultimately used the IR feed of the device with omni directional reflective material to isolate the location of the prop and applied a plane detection algorithm use to the PCL library to determine orientation. Other challenges included the water flow, motion tracking of multiple users and meeting the learning outcomes young children.
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