Bunny Bot

 

Game – Tangible floor game for two players

Bunny Bot is a tiny robot, you should try to control it through a insidious landscape, inspired by Alice in Wonderland romance, with wireless controllers strapped to your body.

BunnyBot from CIID on Vimeo.

Project developed with Ane Eline Sørensen at CIID Pilot year, 2009
faculty: Heather Martin, Durrell Bishop, David A. Mellis, David Cuartielles, Christopher Scales, Alexander Wiethoff
specific role: concept development, physical prototypes and electronics

Honours: this project has been exhibited at the Innovation Lab’s NEXT exhibtion, April 2nd – 5th in Århus, DK

Who is it for?
The core of the project is to explore how tangible gaming can be placed in a social interaction context in which the users need to collaborate to co-create the experience of the game. The BunnyBot is a research project and is targeted towards several potential user groups. The main group is people (of all ages!) who enjoy jumping around on a floor trying to work together to control a robot. The second target group is girls between 10-13. The BunnyBot as an off-the-shelf electronics model kit will appeal to young girls because of the mixture of elements – electronics, social interaction, an appealing style and a storyline. The third potential user group is rehabilitation patients who need extra motivation to go through daily training.

Why is it valuable?
The Bunnybot encourages play through social interaction using tangible computing as the medium. The networked controllers people carry on their body make this interaction possible. Our aim is to create playful social interaction between users. Interdependence is key as this game would not be possible to play without a partner that you work well with.

The experience builds on the story of Alice in Wonderland. The user navigates through a world that replicates the metaphor of following the rabbit to the rabbit hole. When you play with it, you actively use your body, using your motor skills and your ability to work with a partner.

The game is customisable and the play experience is up to the users. This flexibility ensures diversity in the gaming experience. You can customise the path and the obstacles in a tangible way to change the narrative of the game. It’s real and every move your body makes has a tangible reaction.

How does it work?
Our game is based on four different elements: a robot, two controllers, one path and some obstacles. The rabbit shaped robot is the main character in the game. He needs to be guided by the two players to navigate his way through the obstacle-ridden path.

The players wear controllers with an accelerometer inside. These are strapped on to the body and become an extension of the player. The body movements of the players give the instructions to the robot: one player controls backward & forward movements, and the other left & right.
Colour sensors on the back of the robot recognise the obstacles and it reacts accordingly enabling it to navigate along the path to the rabbit-hole. The players have to do this in as little time as possible.

THE RULES!
• Strap the controller to your shoulder or your head (one controller controls left and right, the other controls back and forward)
• Collaborate simultaneously with your partner to move the rabbit through the path
• You cannot touch the BunnyBot.
• When you eat a carrot, you are rewarded with a time decrease
• If you stray off the path, you are punished with a time increases
• When you meet an obstacle the Bunnybot will behave in a strange way – you have to work out how to get him back on track.

What were your key learnings?
Apart from the obvious – learning how to build a robot and make it work which has been new to both of us – we introduced ourselves to the psychology of game play which established how meaningful play is.

Special thanks to David Mellis and Isabel Froes.

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