Active Parks: Keeping active through playful ‘phygital’ interactions in the park

Following the exciting ideas and prototypes developed in the 2nd Active Parks Workshop the team has been working hard to developing the first version of the Xylophone concept.

On Saturday the interactive xylophone went up in Ryelands Park, giving locals a chance to get a first hand experience and collect feedback on their views of its concept. The interactive xylophone was an outcome of a co-design process, based on the shared vision of “a community space with fun and activities safe for everyone to enjoy. It was well received by the local community with over 150 people interacting with it in the three hour space of the event. The feedback was amazing with several suggestions for new games and activities. The team’s favourite one was from a young person who wrote on our feedback board “I want one at home, it’s awesome!”.

The most encouraging element of the xylophone was that it invited people across ages to interact with it, having lots of fun and a good work out at the same time. It was great to see that the xylophone encouraged parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren to interact with it together, bridging in this way the generation gap and producing some interesting music in the process.

There are two ways of interacting with the xylophone. The first and most accessible way is through the use of conductive technology. The only prerequisite is that you have one of your hands positioned on the large painted hand in the xylophone, whilst you use your other hand to play any tune and test how far you can stretch. As it is based on conductive technology multiple players can engage at the same time provided there is a physical connection between them, hence facilitating connectedness.

The concept is based on following the numbers shown on the mobile phone to play ‘Twinkle  Twinkle Little Star’ by touching the mobile on the mobile phone icons in the Xylophone. To play the tune you have to be very fast, move throughout the board to find the numbers, which makes it very challenging.

We gathered a number of interesting points and lessons from the brief pilot testing of the interactive Xylophone in the park on the 28th of June. Firstly it was evident that playfulness in ageless. It was great to see people across all age groups interacting together, learning from each other and having fun.  There are fun ways of keeping active. It is best to encourage people to move, stretch and exercise through enjoyable multisensorial interactions that involve touch, audio and vision. These become more valuable and widely utilised when they have the aim of bridging the intergeneration gap at their core, by facilitating connectedness between people.

Lastly but certainly not least, co-designing interactions is the way forward.

Check out our video to find out more!