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Imaginality Solar System Builder

Imaginality :: Kiosk :: Workspace :: Solar System Builder
Status: Complete

Imaginality - Where Imagination Meets Reality

Imaginality makes virtual, educationally oriented, 3D objects appear in the real world, attached to real objects like cards, the pages of a book or the chest of your friend. Looking through an Imaginality Visor reveals 3D objects that excel at teaching spatial, temporal and contextual knowledge.

Solar System BuilderSolar Builder Overview

The Imaginality Solar System Builder is an interactive experience that teaches people about the planets and their position in the Solar System by letting them build their own Solar System.

Pairs of people work at a table that contains the Solar System with its orbits, but it starts with empty spaces where the planets should be. Each of the planets are mounted on a card and start in a row along the front of the table in the “Planet Parking Lot”.

Solar System BuilderWhen someone looks through the handheld display they see three-dimensional (3D) planets standing out from the black square on each of the planet cards. The cards can be rotated and examined up close to see details such as the spot on Jupiter, or Saturn's rings. The surface of each planet is highly detailed and based on satellite imagery. All planets are also tilted at their appropriate inclination and are rotating at their relative speed.

Using the nine planet cards, two people can work together to explore the planets, compare their properties with other planets and place each planet in its correct orbit around the Sun.  The planets start off on a red base, which turns green once they have been placed correctly. When all of the planets are in their correct locations, they all shrink down to their relative sizes and begin to orbit the Sun. When orbiting the sun, the paths are visible, which conveys the full spatial nature of the orbits, such as how the orbit of Solar System BuilderPluto is well out of the plane of all the other orbits. This spatial information, which is difficult to convey in a book (for example, drawing a perspective view of the orbits can give the misconception they are elliptical) is conveyed effortlessly in this experience.

The computer also responds to the user with narration that: welcomes the user to the experience; offers basic instructions; rewards success by reading the name of a planet as it is placed correctly; congratulates the user on completing the activity and encourages them to return the planets to the “Planet Parking Lot” once they have finished. A new game will not start until all planets are returned, which means the users maintain the activity themselves, reducing staff overheads.

The user’s actions are accurately monitored with the aid of an overhead camera. In addition to tracking the positions of the planets, this camera monitors the table for general activity. If the table is not used for a certain length of time, a “Screensaver” mode is engaged, which encourages people to try the activity. As soon as any movement is detected, the activity begins by welcoming the user.


Solar System BuilderThe technology used in the Imaginality products is called 'Augmented Reality', which involves the placement of virtual, 3D objects on the real world. The Imaginality product range specialises in applying Augmented Reality to education in Science Centres and Museums, school classrooms and the home. Imaginality Kiosks have been experienced and tested by thousands of people around the world in a number of science centres, museums, libraries and trade expos. A small, portable version of the Imaginality Kiosks, called Imaginality Unleashed can be taken home or into schools to help build connections between students and outreach centres.

Once the equipment has been purchased, it can be used with new themes and content in the future, making full use of the investment for years to come. See the other Imaginality documentation for further details, additional Imaginality experiences and merchandising opportunities.

This activity was originally developed with HITLabNZ for TeManawa Science Centre.

For More Information...

For more visual information, check the Demonstration Movie and Image Gallery.

Please Contact Us if you are interested in:

  • Using this product in its current form.
  • Developing new kiosks or content based on the concepts and codebase of Imaginality.
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