Research and Development (and Play)

Thomas Wester, USA

An analysis of how the process of research, development and play influences the creation of interactive experiences and how it contributes to their sustained levels of engagement.

Two ongoing technological developments conspire to present new opportunities for informative, engaging, and entertaining interactive storytelling:

1. The continuing commoditization of hardware is making interactive, sensing and display technology cheaper and accessible to a larger market.
2. Development of both open and closed source software development kits and frameworks are providing more usable abstraction layers to this hardware. This in turn opens up programming and integration on less expensive hardware becomes available to a wider community of professionals and amateurs.

It is often challenging to maximize the benefit of these developments and often the solution is to set aside time for “R&D” research and development. Using real world examples this paper will review and analyze different approaches to getting results from R&D. It will make the case that a critical third ingredient is Play.

Topics covered include:

  • Multi touch surfaces, finding relevant applications
  • Fiducial/glyph recognition, object recognition
  • Kinect hacking, exploring the opportunities of spatial sensing
  • Tactile interactions, imbuing physical objects with digital properties
  • Novel display technologies and optical illusions