INTERACTIVE PROJECTED JUMPING PILLOW
Air.puddle is an collective entertainment experience for kids based on the interface between interactive projections and jumping pillows. The motivation is cognitive and physical, and takes place socially inside a customized air.shell. The air.puddle is a hive of activity, sometimes synchronized and sometimes anarchic, as each child engages images with gestures, and new behaviors emerge and propagate unexpectedly. It is tempting like the sky reflected in a puddle, and the kids jump in with both feet. The first air.puddle was be showcased at Princes Mall in Edinburgh for the christmas festival 2014.
Interactive projection is a technology poised to emerge into our everyday life. The simple integration of a projector and an infrared camera opens a field of physical experience that explores a new space between programming logic and animation design. Movement sequences become triggers for different clusters of content that evolve as a function of the behaviors they provoke. The scope is vast, but initial experiences have tended to be driven more by image content than the potentials for learning new behaviors in interactive environments. The air.puddle proposes to readdress this imbalance, developing innovative code for interactivity that has all the children exploring their gestural language for the trigger. Looking sideways to both choreography and gaming, the air.puddle seeks to reengage the body with the screen at an elemental and collective level.
The Interactive system involves a computer housed at floor level, and connected by cables to two 5000 ANSI lumen projectors that are fixed to a circular truss suspended from the apex of the pneumatic beams at the highest point of the air.shell. The projectors are accompanied by two infrared cameras and two infrared lights that constitute the detection system for jumpers movements, feeding this information to the computer to generate the interactivity that is then projected. The projection and detection system is all fixed to the aluminum truss that is suspended from a series of certified fixing points on the central air beam. The combined weight of these elements is approximately 20kg.
Jumping pillows are large minimal pneumatic surfaces that promote collective bouncing. They are characterized by a high pressure surface that allows kids to get up to 100cm in the air, and each impulse is propagated across the pillow. The air.pillow has been developed with a unique undulating surface of 90m2 that distributes 16 jumpers across 16 mounds, allowing each one to explore his own topography of hill, saddle and valley, from which he can also emerge to exchange places with his neighbors according to patterns of interaction triggered by the projections.
jumping pillow safety
Since their introduction in Denmark in the 1970, Jumping pillows have represented one of the safest playground equipments on the market. The fundamental body movements involved in playing are natural, heights are low, all falls are cushioned, and the pillow surfaces are extensive, with soft landing areas around the jumping zone. The recommended density of jumpers on a standard jumping pillow is 20 per 100m2 (www.thekangaroojumper.com).
The air.pillow is a next generation jumping pillow developed by air.puddle, that introduces topography into the surface to promote the even distribution of the jumpers and hence further reduce any collision risks. The 16 mounds which form the central projected gaming area are surrounded by two meters of flat pillow on each side to allow kids to bounce off screen, or simply relax and enjoy the dissipating energy moving underneath.
Although jumping pillows are inherently safe compared to other playground equipment, the children are free agents on the jumping pillow, and it is inevitable that certain excessive behaviors can cause accidents through collisions. Therefore it is necessary to have a management plan that integrates control systems into the procedural logic of the air.puddle to minimize all collision risk.
The design and development of the interactive games will all tend to distribute the 16 children by default onto the 16 hills of the jumping area. This even distribution will reduce the potential for collision to a minimum. Some of the games will involve engaging children in routines of displacement around up to four different hills, and the form in which this is done will produce synchronized movements that promote flow and avoid collision.
The pressure of the air.pillow can be regulated very simply, changing dramatically the jumping performance, and allowing more controlled environments to be established when there are smaller children involved, or when there are jumpers of different height and weights.
materiality / equipment
The air.pillow is made from a PVC coated polyester fabric and stitched into shape according to the complex confection patterns. The air,pillow is a sealed or contained air system that is inflated up to 3psi in 30 minutes, and then left unsupported. If any further inflation is required, electric airpumps can be used to top the pillow up from the four corners of the air.pillow, away from the centre of activity on the loading axis, The air.pillow pressure and consequent jumping performance can be calibrated in this way.
The bespoke pneumatic tent that houses the air.puddle is called the air.shell and it has been developed by sur.face in collaboration with Ingenious Inflateables .It is based on a toroidal geometry , and its blown air cavity walls are reinforced by four contained-air pneumatic beams, generating a highly resistant form.
The air.shell “blown-air” panels are made from 180gr/m2 grey ripstop nylon, and are inflated by four 500watt fans located inside the cavity. The interior surface is made from blackout material, controlling the internal illumination to allow the air.puddle projection to maximize its visibility. The contained air beams are made from 650grm/m2 pvc and polyester membrane, and their pressure is maintained by two 2.8kw pressure regulated pumps. The entire structure can be inflated in 20 minutes and deflated in 10 minutes.
The air shell comes with a british engineering calculation, and it will be certified for regular operation in winds up to 80km/hr winds. The ballast is 8,000 kg of sandbags/waterbags that are inserted into the aircavity at ground level on each side and keep the air.shell firmly on the floor. The wind will be monitored constantly through forecast surveillance and onsite measurement, and when the forecast combined with on site measurements indicate winds over 80km/hr the air.shell will be disinflated.
The blown-air end panels are made from translucent PVC and zipped into the shell overhead, and fixed to the floor. The air.shell overhangs the end walls on both sides producing a zone where spectators can stand protected from the rain and look inside to the air.puddle
The main entrance is a double fire door that opens outwards ,with monolithic polycarbonate panels and fitted with bar latches, complying with BS EN 1125. The secondary door placed symmetrically at the other end is used when there is a high volume of clients, and it is closed by a quick release flap of translucent PVC membrane that is zipped into the end wall.
Each child is only allowed to be accompanied by one spectator to ensure that there is no overcrowding of the loading area. Other parents and friends must spectate from outside the air.shell windows. In the loading area there will be seating for up to 16 adults on a system that also serves as shoes storage.
The air.puddle will offer a cycle of different 5 minute programmes that rotate approximately every hour. These programmes will be designed with interactive qualities that are suitable for specific agegroups, promoting a filtering of different sized jumpers into different groups allowing specifically customized interactivity to maximize the experience, and also minimizing the potential dangers of collisions between large and small children.
The air.shell will be illuminated by fluorescent bar lighting flood placed in between the two blown air walls, producing a glowing surface at night that is subtle and attractive. In the interior of the air.puddle, the loading areas will have a low level illumination associated with the shoeboxes that is sufficient to allow clients to remove and store their shoes. The rest of the illumination is provided by the two projectors on the air.pillow.
The air.puddle has been designed in grey and light blue segmented colours that blend in subtly with the central Edinburgh context.
title air.puddle / air.pillow
location princes mall, edinburgh, uk
team pol taylor + shona donaldson
colaborators ingenious inflateables
client nest events limited
data area100m2 , height 4.5m , air.shell weight 600 kg,
airpuddle weight 200 kg