Re-ignite the will to wonder


Chassé theatre asked us to create an installation which would entertain their visitors waiting for their show to start or enjoy during intermission.
Most adults can be ashamed to experience new things outside of their social bubble. Children don’t have this social obstruction, they dive in head first.
Omega encourages people to recover this child-like wonder by playfully interacting with ‘levitating water’ designed to stimulate exploration.

Project Details

The key vision behind Omega was discovery by play.
Using an optical illusion, created by sound and movement, to draw people’s attention. Using motion tracking technology to give users the ability to interact with the flow of water by gradually giving them control over the intensity, direction (up or down) and amount of water.

Direction of the flow
By moving their hand up and down next to the stream, users are able to control the direction of the water flow.
Shape of the water
By waving their hands next to the water user can control the shape of the stream.
Intensity of the stream
The more people interact with Omega the more heavy the flow of water will become.

The proces of Omega

The process of Omega
For the installation I drew inspiration from my own childhood. Looking at different elements I used to play with like water, fire and sand. Curious about the way natural elements are always different, being able to contain fire but not control it fully. Each element with it’s own personality. We decided water would be the most practical option for an indoor installation. Using light and audio Omega creates water drops which seems to float mid-air. For this effect to work, all parts of the technology have to work perfectly in sync, otherwise the illusion would fail. To ensure this wouldn’t happen we created a lot of small scale prototypes in a dark environment to be free of constraints. I did the design and all the prototyping with the water. Basically everything but the coding and arduino. That was done by my other groupmates.

The biggest obstacle during the proces was making sure the technology worked while still maintaining an approachable feel, as discovery was a key theme. The technology needs a low light environment to work, the coders on the team vouched for a closed box with curtains. However this would create an obstruction for the user to approach the installation and interfere with the overall user experience. To explore other options I created different cardboard scale models of the installation to see how the surrounding light would influence the working of the installation.

User testing
To make the discovery mechanic of the installation feel as natural as possible, multiple user tests were conducted. Experimenting with different shapes of the stream and ways of interacting with the water. During this phase I worked closely with the coders to ensure the interaction would be easy to implement. As long as I did not had to code.

A lot of time was spent building the actual housing of the installation, mostly through careful planning and trial and error. As the installation had to be moveable and reusable, the technology had to be heavily protected. During this phase all team members helped with construction. To ensure the technology would not be damaged while moving the installation we build the housing in a way that the technology could be moved separately and put together later.

My role in the project
During this project I took on the role of UX designer. Ensuring the installation was approachable and the interaction with it would be optimal. I worked closely together with the coders to explore possibilities. Most of my time was spent conducting user tests and experimenting with the interaction flow.