formula D_ developed an immersive learning experience for the Mishkat Interactive Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy in Saudi Arabia that utilises a wall-sized projection space and fun physical props to teach young children about renewable energy. formula D_ is working on several other exhibits for the centre.
Saudi Arabia has a long-term plan to transition from being “the kingdom of energy” (oil and gas) to “the kingdom of renewable energy” (sun, wind, and geothermal energy, as well as atomic energy). King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (K.A.CARE) was created by royal decree in 2010 to establish the kingdom’s sustainable energy future. The Mishkat Interactive Center for Atomic and Renewable Energy is one of K.A.CARE’s flagship educational projects, with the goal of igniting a spark in the next generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators by teaching them about renewable energy.
The museum was designed so that it could prioritise remaining up-to-date and relevant. Its interactive content is refreshed on a weekly basis, and larger exhibits are added as necessary, such as an interactive renewable-energy exhibit for young children that the centre commissioned formula D_ to conceptualise, design, develop, and install. In turn, formula D_ brought Stage Audio Works on board to integrate the audiovisual hardware.
The exhibit, intended to consolidate the technical lessons learnt during a visit to the centre in the minds of its youngest visitors, takes the form of a game projected on the wall with physical components that must be placed correctly on the floor. The game is designed for educators and children, especially those between the ages of four and six, and features no text in order to ensure accessibility and inclusivity. All the art is also colourful and age-appropriate.
The game features two animated landscapes, each with a day and night scene, resulting in four possible game rounds. A darkened house is projected on the wall, and the children are tasked with figuring out how to power the house with electricity using what nature offers for free: the sun, wind, and heat from the Earth. They do this by observing the visual cues in the game and then placing PVC-covered foam props onto hotspots on the floor. The props feature optical markers that cameras mounted above can identify and track. If the props are placed in a position that corresponds correctly with the visual cues, renewable-energy plants will appear on the wall and will start to generate power. In turn, rooms in the house will begin to light up, and their appliances will begin to work. The game is won when all the props have been placed correctly, and the entire house is powered by renewable energy.
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