Grownups, children and makers of all ages used their smart phones to play a game inspired by carnival clowns at the first annual San Luis Obispo Mini Maker Faire on May 11, 2013.
The Kennedy Library and Cal Poly Science Café were delighted to partner with the SLO Mini-Maker Faire to bring an interactive, crowd-sourced game to Mission Plaza.
With the manic pressing of a virtual button on our phones, we were able to control the amount of air that filled the red, yellow, green or blue balloons on stage.
Pop! You control the balloons
Which color would pop first? Could we keep one from popping and focus on another so that it would catch up? The event was called DIY: Crowd Sourced Gaming. Michael Newman, the creative director, interactive developer and teacher who designed the game, said it was a “less scary alternative” to the carnival clown game, the one where you inflate the balloons by squirting water into their heads.
Using the virtual world on our smart phone to impact the physical world in front of us turned out to be a delightful merge of the two worlds in which most of us now live. The crowd shouted and cheered as they watched the balloons respond to their collective pressing. Michael, by leveraging PHP, the internet, an Arduino and some really orange cables, custom-designed the game for the location and event, just as he had done the year before at Kennedy Library. It was interactive, visual and fun.
Michael will share his notes about how he made the game in the next couple weeks. We’ll make an update here once they’re available. Stay tuned for a how-to video, too! (Update: It’s live, and right under this sentence!) More photos are on our Flickr.
Watch a video of Quin, a 12-year-old maker also at the event. Video by our very own Victoria Billings!