Project: Cosmic Explorer (Social Wall)

Team Members: Chris Miller, Daxit Agarwal, Thomas Huneycutt (COD), Bethany Cantrell (COD), Tierra White (COD), and Michael Pfeffer (COD)

Tagline: Cosmic Explorer aims to engage young visitors and immerse them in an interactive, intuitive, and exciting world where they will learn to express their curiosity and explore the solar system through the wonder of play.

Background: The Durham Museum of Life and Science is looking for an interactive exhibit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. This exhibit would be projected onto both an open wall and a section of the floor to create an immersive experience aimed at kids around the age of seven. We divided our project into two sections: the wall scene and the floor scene. The floor scene shows a top-down display of the solar system. The planets move relative to their actual speeds around the sun, with one Earth year taking about 7 seconds.
The wall scene is where the interactions take place. This will show all 8 of the planets scaled up and stationary around the sun. Using the motion tracking, a player can select a planet by hovering over it for 1.5 seconds. After a planet has been selected, the floor scene will shift to a zoom-in of the planet. As all this is happening, there are also some objects that will spawn and fly around the space. These include a comet, an asteroid, an astronaut, a space ship, and a Tesla Roadster. If the player hovers over these, a unique sound will play.

Future Work:

  • Improve the motion tracking to be more stable and support more skeletons
  • Along with motion tracking, add star trails behind hands and feet.
  • Gestures
  • Implementing easter egg interactions for each planet (Curiosity Rover is moving around on Mars, ISS orbiting Earth, etc.)
  • Adding a way to express information about the planets so that kids learn as they play.
  • Fine-tune textures so some planets don’t look as flat (Jupiter, Saturn)