Interactive Review 2

For one of the kiosks in the museum, user’s would move kinetic sand around on a table and change the height of certain regions; creating a miniature terrain. Changing the height of certain regions caused the color projected on that region to change. The taller a region was, the warmer the colors would become; red being the maximum. This kiosk intended to communicate that changes in elevation can cause other variables of an environment to change. It communicated this by changing the color of the terrain if the height was a certain difference between two points (Example: “The green terrain zone I have is 3 inches below this higher region, so I will make this higher region yellow”). Strong elements of interaction included the sand itself. The reason for this was the fact that the sand was not normal sand you’d find on a beach, but instead kinetic sand. This type of sand is able to keep its shape much easier and be more easy to form and mold into various shapes. Using kinetic sand instead of normal sand allows for users to form the terrain in any way they like without having to worry about it turning into an instant “mudslide” situation. By physically interacting with the exhibit, you were shown different colors on your terrain based on their “altitude”. The higher you built, the warmer the colors projected on the sand were. This kiosk was an interaction-game-like due to the fact that interacting with physical sand on the table rewarded you with a different mix of colors being projected onto the table. Interaction could be improved at this kiosk by aligning the projector to the correct angle so that the colors for the altitude are not offset. Upon interacting with the kiosk I found that the edges were off by about an inch, which makes a big difference when showing changes in elevation. The interaction could be expanded by including a water system that would create waterways, lakes and rivers in the lower altitude regions; perhaps from table surface up to a quarter of an inch.

Another kiosk I interacted with involved taking hold of a handle with a looped piece of steel on the end and making it from one side of the maze to the other without touching the steel loop to the bar in which it’s contained. To interact with the exhibit, I had to hold the handle piece in one hand and slowly move the handle along the path. Slow movements were needed in order to not touch the handle to the maze line and cause a game over. The exhibit was communicating that patience and taking your time with a task can help you succeed more efficiently. It communicates this by having an intricate path in order to make it near impossible to complete the maze successfully going at a fast rate. The strongest elements of the interaction was the buzzer that would go off if the wand touched the maze line piece. This result of having the two pieces touch acted as a negative reinforcement and made the player want to try harder to further avoid causing the buzzer to go off. This exhibit was interaction game-like due to the fact that there was a result to touching the maze line as well as reaching the other end of the maze. Touching the line as stated above set off an annoying buzzer, but making it to the end resulted in trumpets sounding off victory. The interaction could have been improved by having a system which allows users to change the size of the loop that was on the handle. This would allow players to increase or decrease their difficulty as they please and offer more variables for competition against their friends such as “Who can make it to the end the quickest with loop number one?” As for making the communication as to stay away from the swirly maze line, they could have painted the maze line red. That way the user would associate the color red with danger either before or after they cause the buzzer to go off the first time. The interactive design of this piece could have been expanded with this piece by creating a longer and more elaborate maze experence; perhaps one that went all away around the table.

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