Thursday, November 22, 2012

Storms and Brain Storming

Sort of a winter in Israel, hallelujah!

Our beginning consisted mostly of changing our minds regarding the project we are going to work on. A few ideas were advertisement boards that interact with pedestrians, live street jam with jammers from around the world, real-life running game around the city, bus station mirrors that detect your mood and inspires you on your way, urban pattern collecting game, city route lighted and colored by street lights and traffic light games.

When we met with the miLab mentors we presented them with Urban Runner that was supposed to be our answer to common laziness and the will to be fit. The feedback was somewhat good, somewhat mellow. We decided to drop it after we couldn't find the core interaction. No time to lose- we started to work on the idea of traffic light games for pedestrians that wait for the green light. 

As our project is intended to be of an HCI (human-computer interaction) nature, we wanted to avoid using screens and keyboards, we wanted to find something that will change the way people experience the city and the other pedestrians. This year's concept is urban data. Simon will be urban as it is all about pedestrians and their time at the red light while the data part will consist of the traffic light changing timings.

After a quick chat with someone from the Tel Aviv municipality we found out that the city has 420 intersections with up to 12 (!) different programs for each traffic light per day. For the every day pedestrian that means dozens of uncertainty periods each day. Some intersections are programmed differently in rush hour while others require the pedestrian to push a button for the green light.

Now back to HCI and back to that annoying red light. We tried to think of games that will make the time we spend waiting for the green light pleasant. Nothing like YouTube for inspiration- one project we bumped into was this pong game in Germany:
Seems pretty cool to play against someone at the other side of the crosswalk, another pedestrian that is waiting for the green light.

We wanted to avoid using screens or keyboards and mainly we wanted the option for more than one player to play on each side. While projections and the Kinect technolgy are super cool, we found that it is better for a multi-player game to be physical and seperate on each side. Another cool project is these piano stairs in Stockholm, Sweden:
Stepping on physical objects that interact with the stepper seems quite successful as well :) After coming up with a few ideas we decided to start defining a physical enlarged Simon game. Stay tuned!

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