About the Research Stations.

Spree has, in collaboration with True Stories and IDEI, has created four research stations for the playroom at Westfield Mall Of Scandinavia. At the stations, the children can explore 4 different elements (fire, water, earth and wind) using physical “crank spinners”. Depending on which element game is played, different things happen. The children get to drill down to the earth’s core and explore the earth’s various layers, build up the pressure of a volcano and see it erupt, create air bubbles beneath the surface and see various objects sink to the bottom of the ocean and cause a tornado to spin around and blow away plants , robots and UFOs.

The games have a subtle pedagogical basic idea that aims to awaken the thoughts and curiosity of the children who play the games. Each research station consists of a computer, a 4k TV and a crank spinner connected via an arduino to the computer. The screen and computer are built in behind a half pipe, which makes the games more immersive and exciting. The research stations fit very well into the playrooms space theme and complement the slightly more physical games without taking over.

The Fire-station


At the research station Fire, the children get to build up the pressure in a volcano and see a powerful eruption. The volcano is illustrated as a cut-out where the children first see that the lava bubbling at the bottom of the volcano. Then as they begin to spin the crank spinner, the pressure builds up, the lava rises and the volcano finally gets its eruption.


Unity


Samtliga spel är skapade i spelmotorn Unity. Forskningsstationerna, som är avsedda för de lite mindre barnen, är roliga och spännande spel-upplevelser som i sin enkelhet drar till sig uppmärksamhet och fångar intresset både hos småbarn och deras föräldrar.


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The Water-station


At the water station, children get to experiment with water and air. As they crank the spinning wheel, a small robot at the sea bottom pumps out air bubbles. The bubbles then rise to the surface where they change the density of the water. When there are enough bubbles, the objects that float on the surface sinks to the bottom. When the objects have sunk and dissapeared, a UFO droppes new floating objects for the children to play with.


Subtle pedagogy


The main purpose of the research stations is to be fun, interesting and exciting experiences for the children, more than just beeing a direct educational game. However, all research stations have their foundations and main thoughts from some type of learning, which can be a small bonus for the slightly larger children. The idea is that the stations should encourage the childrens curiosity as to why the various elements behave as they do. Why does the volcano erupt? Why do the objects sink to the bottom? Why are there skeletons underground?, are some questions that may be raised by the children as they play and experiment with the games.


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The Wind-station


At the wind station, the children winds up a tornado, which then blows away the plants and objects that appear on the screen. The tornado starts out as a small whirlwind and the more a child cranks the spinning wheel, the larger the tornado gets, until it reaches its maximum size.


Theme


Mall Of Scandinavia has a theme throughout the mall about the various elements. This theme has served as an underlying inspiration for the entire project for the playroom, and not least for the four research stations. The space theme for the playroom was developed during the idea generation for the other digital solution Spree developed, the "Planet lab".


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The Ground-station


At the earth station, the children get to explore what is hiding underground. When they crank the spinning wheel, a robot moves down through various earth layers where they discover, among other things, dinosaur skeletons and shiny jewels.


Interaction through crank wheel


In order to interact with the games, the children have to spin on a small crank wheel. The crank wheel is connected to an arduino which is then plugged into the computer.


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