Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Riderville Interactive Experience

Here at Talking Dog, we're excited about how the technologies we've been developing since 2009 are so useful for "live" experiences. A perfect example from not long ago is Riderville, the four-day party environment where as many as 6000 people at a time gathered to celebrate, as part of the lead-up to the Grey Cup football championship which was being played here in our home town of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.

We developed three different Live Interactions which were featured nightly at Riderville. Let's take a look:

1. Live Polling
In years past, being able to individually poll an audience and see the results posted in real time was an expensive proposition, since it required a specially-designed hardware setup. Nowadays, with a large majority in possession of a smartphone, we figured out a much more cost-effective solution that runs in a web browser. Want to try it out? Go to talkingdog.tv with your smartphone to place your vote right now. If you have a second device nearby, use it to view the results at talkingdog.tv/1/viewer.php .

You'll notice there are two buttons near the bottom left on this viewer screen: if you click on Recent, the results will be temporarily cleared. This means that if you are with a group of friends, each with their own smartphone, tablet, or whatever, everybody in the room can vote and you can see just the results of your voting. You can then click on the Totals button and see how everyone else who has participated in the poll since it was launched stacks up.

Finally, there are actually 11 questions in this poll, so for instance if you want to view the results of the second poll you have to change your viewer link to talkingdog.tv/2/viewer.php , and so on. Simple? You bet! But very flexible. Imagine a conference or a large meeting where the moderator is taking questions from the floor, a question is quickly typed in and everyone in the room can then use their smartphones to express their opinion. Or imagine a room where multiple screens are set up, each showing the results viewer for a different question, and visitors are able to stroll from screen to screen and use their smartphone to place their vote and see the results in real time.

For the Riderville experience, where most of the questions were trivia-related, we also posted the answers, which you were given a link to once you had answered all 11 questions. Inexpensive live polling is definitely something that could be used in a wide variety of settings, from just plain fun to very serious.

2. Real-time Animated Sound Meter
This is something you've seen a version of at sporting events for years - a cartoon depicting a sound meter is shown to the crowd, and fans are encouraged to cheer as loudly as possible. Wouldn't it be better, we thought, to create an animated display that actually responded to the sound of the crowd rather than just pretending to? That's what we built for Riderville. Here's a picture of our meters being used on the big screens at the event:

Those big screens were provided by our friends at IKS Media, who also created the opening animations for the sound meter, and our Whack-a-Mole game:

3. Riderville Whack-a-Mole
Using a kinect and a Mac Mini, we built this augmented reality whack-a-mole game, which was a popular attraction throughout the event. A player would simply stand out on the dance floor, wave their hands in the air, and see their on-screen "shadow" hitting moles as they popped up out of a football field. But they had to be careful - because occasionally team mascot Gainer the Gopher would pop his head out, and if you hit Gainer you'd lose points. We'll talk more about this game in our next entry, but in the meantime, stay augmented!

A direct link to the above video is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9lcaPP2w0k

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