Children

Hybrid Play morphs playgrounds into mobile game controllers

Hybrid Play morphs playgrounds...
Hybrid Play fuses playground time with mobile games by turning swings and slides into game controllers
Hybrid Play fuses playground time with mobile games by turning swings and slides into game controllers
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Hybrid Play led kids in designing games and play testing the sensors
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Hybrid Play led kids in designing games and play testing the sensors
Some of Hybrid Play's game offerings include both classic games like Pac-Man and new creations
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Some of Hybrid Play's game offerings include both classic games like Pac-Man and new creations
Game selection lets the user pick a game by which playground toy they'd like to play on
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Game selection lets the user pick a game by which playground toy they'd like to play on
This child's design for Hybrid Play was created during a play test
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This child's design for Hybrid Play was created during a play test
Hybrid Play creates a game environment where kids on a playground can interact within a mobile app
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Hybrid Play creates a game environment where kids on a playground can interact within a mobile app
The Hybrid Play sensor, in the shape of an overgrown clothespin, clips onto playground equipment to detect motion and proximity
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The Hybrid Play sensor, in the shape of an overgrown clothespin, clips onto playground equipment to detect motion and proximity
Hybrid Play fuses playground time with mobile games by turning swings and slides into game controllers
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Hybrid Play fuses playground time with mobile games by turning swings and slides into game controllers

Playgrounds may seem old school to some kids when compared to the latest video games, but Hybrid Play’s interactive game system turns swing sets and seesaws into games controllers through a mobile app available for iOS and Android devices. The company hopes this open-source, customizable toy will encourage kids to play outside more and spur social interaction.

All the hardware is contained in a single large weather- and impact-resistant “clothespin” that clips onto swings, slides, and seesaws. Within the clip, accelerometers, gyroscopes, and IR sensors on an Arduino board track the playing children and relay their movement information via low-energy Bluetooth to the mobile app, which translates it into in-game action.

Because a parent would hardly want a child playing on a phone while trying to hold onto a swing, the mobile app is meant to be controlled by another child or parent. But Hybrid Play describes this as a benefit, teaching “communication, collaboration and group-play” with a child’s peers and parents.

Game selection lets the user pick a game by which playground toy they'd like to play on
Game selection lets the user pick a game by which playground toy they'd like to play on

Games have virtual goals, such as collecting items and exploring a city, but Hybrid Play has also modified vintage games, such as Pac-Man and TRON, to work with the system. The person holding the mobile device shouts out directions to control the virtual action, while those playing on equipment do their best to fulfill the instructions by swinging faster or moving more in a certain direction.

The system also encourages creativity off the playground by allowing users to add new games or modify existing ones by making the software open source. Integration with Gamesonomy, a visual programming language, is intended to make it easy to create game content, and the company will also have Scratch integration.

Hybrid Play is the latest in a string of devices that leverage technology with the aim of getting kids off the couch by blending the real and virtual worlds. The Wii really kicked off the trend that has continued with the development of systems, such as MoleBot and Loop, which also encourages kids to get outdoors.

Hybrid Play is set to be launched on Indiegogo likely on September 30, with the company's introductory video below demonstrating a playground-turned-video game in action.

Source: Hybrid Play

Hybrid Play - How it works

3 comments
Jay Finke
Like the kids are going to do any physical activity, when they have a gaming device in there hands. Here is a idea for you, lock boxes on the playground for phones/games that only open after a hour passes.
StWils
This is an absolutely awful ill conceived application of digital technology. Proponents of the "Internet of Things" concept have gems like a sensor to tell you when your coffee mug is empty with an app to send a text message. Put the phone down and look in your mug! Same thing here. No Kickstarter needed. Just kick this bad idea to the curb .
Slowburn
Maybe we should consider letting kids get hurt now and then to teach them the world is a dangerous place. Let them jump out of swings let them meet random children and play with them. Merry Go Rounds just aren't any fun when you are not going fast enough that you have to hang on.