dome_display_interaction.pngIn the first week of July 2007, we did the first full experimental set-up of the IXP prototype "Build a fish". The set-up consists of two concepts: 1) a high round table and dome display with a circumambient shelf equipped with three RFID tagreaders, 2) two digital hydroscopes for exploring the further life of the fish in the water. To see a concept video of the prototypes click here

Constructing fish with an RFID kit

To support construction of fish, we developed an RFID based construction set with physical pieces that were tagged with RFID tags. The physical pieces can be assembled to an imaginary fish on top of an RFID tagreader, and when the user is satisfied with the constructed fish, it can be released into the virtual sea. The tagreaders are built into a special table with a dome display viewing into the virtual sea universe. The dome view is provided through a dome display on top of the table.

fish_parts.png The construction set is developed on the basis of 5 different fish species and they are deconstructed into the following types of pieces: body, head, tail, swim blatter, breast fin and back fin. Each piece is through the RFID tag linked to information and virtual fish piece that appear in the dome display. On the dome display the partly finished fish is shown together with information about its physical strengths and weaknesses. This is also supplemented with an assessment of its abilities to survive.

dome_display.pngWhile constructing the fastest, funniest, or strongest fish the objective is that the visitors learn about fish anatomy and how it affects its abilities to survive under specific conditions. There is no ”correct” fish, the visitors learn about fish properties by experimenting and exploring. When constructing the fish, properties of the individual fish pieces are described in the dome display on top of the fish pieces.

When done with a fish, the visitor use a special RFID tagged piece to invoke a release of the fish into the sea, implying that it leaves the dome display of the construction table and disappears into the sea universe, where it can be followed and further explored through a Hydroscope.

Exploring fish in Hydroscopes

hydroscope1.pngTo engage the visitors in continuing to follow their constructed digital fish, the fish disappears into the large sea, and it is not visible until it is found through a moveable mixed reality Hydroscope that enables the visitors to look down through the floor surface and try to find their fish.

The only navigation cues are the sound of lapping waves depending on the depth of the water. The water surface is only visible through the physical Hydroscope. The Hydroscope is thus an instantiation of a Peephole interaction principle to exploring the large partly hidden sea universe.

The Peephole provides glimpses of the underwater characteristics such as the bed of river, low and deep waters. Dependent on the properties of the constructed fish, it will find its way to the most appropriate waters and one will be able find it there be means of the Hydroscope. We have deliberately chosen not to mark the physical floor according to the mapping of the seabed visible through the Peepholes as the slow gradual discovery of different waterbeds is seen as an attractive pointer for spurring curiosity.

hydroscop_interface.pngIn the example of the interface of the Hydroscope a part of the seabed, two constructed fish and a compass wheel to support the navigating the virtual sea is seen. On the technical side the Hydroscope consists of a laptop computer and large external screen and loudspeakers. The tracking of movement is done by positioning a mouse of a rolling ball in the middle of the Hydroscope and orientation is achieved by means of a digital compass. A large tire tube, a top that shapes the view on the screen and an acrylic dome providing protection for the display, forms the outside of the Hydroscope.

Round and organic form have been chosen to fit the natural setting and to enable user access from many sides at the same time in order to encourage collective exploration of content. The edge of the Hydroscope consists of a tube from a truck wheel which allow for physical play. The Hydroscope hardware will survive kicking and pushing by the users

Interactive Spaces | Åbogade 34 | DK-8200 Århus N. | Phone: +45 8942 5636 | Email: info@interactivespaces.net
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