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Xbox Kinect Fills Kids’ Cafe With Virtual Beasties [Video]

Xbox Kinect Fills Kids’ Cafe With Virtual Beasties [Video]

As children, most of us were resigned to experiencing fairy tales through a storybook. In California, kids actually get to live them.

Design I/O, a creative studio with offices in the U.S. and the Netherlands, has designed an interactive installation at the Bumble children’s cafe in Los Altos, which lets kids use their bodies to illuminate an enchanted nighttime forest and even gambol with the magical critters that inhabit it. Details, per the designers:

Listening to the creatures’ sounds children can locate them in the forest, as they play a nighttime game of hide and seek. Some creatures are curious and will investigate the light, while others are frightened and will hide in the shadows. Using their light, children can grow nocturnal plants and release fireflies from their flowers. The fireflies illuminate the environment and help locate the creatures hiding in the forest.

Night Bright, as the installation’s called, taps Xbox Kinect, a motion-sensing device, to track children’s movements and convert them into directives that guide the sights and sounds of the forest. The designers also developed custom tools (the whole project was built using openFrameworks 007 with ofxKinect and ofxControlPanel add-ons) to make the assorted frogs and owls and butterflies more lifelike. CreativeApplications.net reports:

These tools made it easy for the team to have birds land on branches and the woodpecker to peck on trees, for example. Also used are animated sequences with accompanying xml files to describes different [animal] behaviours… making it quite easy to chain sequences together and have the creatures naturally react to the children’s movement.

For more Co.Design coverage of Design I/O, go here.

[Images via Creativeapplications.net]

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