Physical Installations As Learning Systems

The DDE (Design for Digital Experience), 2015 batch recently had a module on physical installations as learning systems. To put simply, these are interactive setups that help the user learn about a particular topic by engaging with the installation. The interactions can be gesture based, speech based, physical like pressing buttons or various others that technology has now enabled, including thought!

The batch worked in groups of three coming up with five different installations with subjects ranging from geography to story telling, civics to colour theory. The technologies used included Microsoft Kinect, Arduino and image processing. Lets have a brief look at them!

1. Abki Baar, Meri Sarkaar!

Team Members: Arundhati, Atul, Manasee

This fun installation will put you right at the nerve centre of the country, the Lok Sabha. Aiming to teach a young audience the process of passing a bill in the two Houses, it uses Kinect to make interactions more engaging and participatory. The user selects issues to be tabled in the House and votes by using hand gestures recognised by the Kinect sensor. The results and the progress can be seen on the screen along with an audio feedback.

The physical setup of the installation mimics the arrangement of the two Houses adding to the experience of being present there.

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Watch the video here!

2. Coloreveal

Team Members: Ghanesh, Marathon, Tinjo

A simple yet engaging installation is Coloreveal. Two users can interact with this installation at once. All you need to do is rotate the discs attached on either side of the screen to change colours and have fun mixing and matching with your friend. The installation is targeted at a young audience and helps them explore colours.

The two semi-circles on the edges depict the selected colours and the main screen the resulting colour. The clean graphic language and simplicity of interaction make this installation extremely simple to understand and use.

The discs are attached to potentiometers, which in turn are connected to an Arduino board to provide input to a computer.

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Watch the video here!

3. Meridian Chaser

Team Members: Anupam, Arpit, Nakul

This installation aims to give the user a basic idea about how the world is divided into Time Zones and how we gain or lose time as we move across the globe. The user interacts with the installation by moving a slider which moves a vertical marker on the screen. Corresponding to the position of the marker, the Time Zone and its major cities are highlighted. The map also gives real time day/night conditions and a feedback when the date is changed. To add to the experience, sounds corresponding to the time of the active time zone can be heard. The slider is built on an Arduino using IR sensors that communicates with the computer.

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Watch the video here!

4. Story Builders

Team Members: Gopichand, Nambirajan, Suman

The art of story telling will never die. It will only change form. With new technology, it will become more engaging and interactive. This installation let’s you weave your own stories. The story involves three characters-the lion, the monkey and the elephant. The narrative, however, depends on your choice. To interact with the installation, you place the characters on a magnetic board in three locations-the den, the shore or the tree, in any combination. All you do next is press a button. Depending on the position of the characters on the board, a new story is narrated. You can have fun playing around with the characters. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good story?

The installation uses image processing to identify the position of characters on the board.

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Watch the video here!

5. Time Travel

Team Members: Anurag, Bhaumik, Shilpa

What will it be like being in Tokyo right now? Can I move to California in a leap?

This is exactly what this installation was all about. The experience of being in a different city at a particular time. The user jumps to the city by physically moving on a map laid out on the floor. The Kinect sensor detects his/her position and a video of that place is projected on the screen in front. The darkness of the room and the fluorescent map glowing under the UV lamps make up for an immersive ambience.

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Watch the video here!

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