The Interactive Slide (UPF Patent Pending) is a large inflatable slide that is augmented with interactive technology designed by Narcis Pares. The current configuration has a sliding surface 4 meters wide and 3 meters long, which acts also as an image projection screen. A computer vision system detects the movements, actions and attitudes of children to allow them to play with an interactive experience on the sliding surface of the slide.
The goal of my research with the Interactive Slide was to develop and test active video games experiences to promote Physical Activity.
This project is more than a fun generating experience. It is an ongoing research within the field of interactive communication for children with special needs. Specifically, the Interactive Slide addresses important issues concerning children in Europe, namely those related to children obessity and lack of socialisation. The Interactive Slide wishes to become a tool to encourage children to do more physical exercise while socialising with other children.
The IS shown to be a good surface for social interaction and physical activity. The children, asked, what is the Interactive Slide, answered for most of them: a video game, forgeting tha while playing, they were doing physical activity. To assess the potential impact of the IS, and more generally, exergames on cardiovascular activity, we have designed and developed the Balloon Game. The idea was to test a design mechanic, coined as the Interaction Tempo, to control the physical intensity of the game and the capability to maintain the level of intensity during a healthy and recommended amount of time by physical activity experts. During our quantitative evaluation, we have recorded that our design strategies has a significant impact on cardiovascular physical activity. Complementary to cardiovascular physical activity is motor activity, a large umbrella that gather physical activities related to strenght, flexibility, balance, coordination, etc and which can be assess by evaluating the quality of movement when these activities are executed. To explore design strategies fostering specific movements, we have designed the Fish Game. Our contribution in this project was double. First we brought design methods to fosters specific movements, second, we translate to the HCI fields assessment methods used by physical activity experts to evaluate the quality of physical activity executed during a play session. In conclusion of this experiement, we shown that our design strategies was helping to foster richer amount of movement and the movement fostered by the game were executed by the children.