For me, one of the most memorable pieces of interactive technologies in public was (unfortunately) in Times Square this summer, the dunking game… I have no clue what it’s for.
It involves one of the GIANT screens in TS and shows the crowd in real time as well as a (pre taped) person on a diving board. The object of the game is for the crowd to push a virtual beach ball towards the target, once the target is hit, it triggers a video of the person sitting on the board getting dunked into a water tank.
Personally, I think this installation is perfect for the context. TS is a heavily tourist-y area and tourists like seeing and experiencing novel and fun stuff. The game was pretty simple and intuitive. People were jumping up and down and waving/flailing their arms around to change the trajectory of the ball. The only shortcoming depended on how many people were trying to hit it at once and their timing, the trajectory maybe wasn’t corresponding correctly with their intent. But then again, maybe that was on the part of the users, it was perhaps an exercise in teamwork. Because the interaction was so intuitive, people figured it out quickly and it only took a couple minutes for the ball to hit the target and the crowd got their “reward” of the pre-recorded footage of a person getting dunked.
Putting this in context with the readings from last week, I think it doesn’t quite live up to their standards. I think Victor would hate it because it is still a virtual interaction. Even though it involved people and all of their appendages, it was purely visual and didn’t engage any other senses other than sight. Crawford may not be too happy about this either… there is some reciprocal action but this program was written to perform one function. The back and forth interaction is limited to people “hitting” the ball and the ball moving in the direction in which it was sent.
I still stand by my opinion that it is a good piece of interaction design for the context. Times Square is such a transitory space, it isn’t meant for long lasting interaction since people seldom stick around for long or hang out. People go there for the destination/sight seeing and this piece really adds to that experience.