A floor of interactive chocolate
This is one of my most favourite projects that gets a lot of attention. A fully interactive chocolate floor that I programmed for Cadbury World in Birmingham. The Installation is called “Chocolate Infinity” and it lets you play 4 different chocolate based games on an interactive floor.
As visitors enter the interactive floor space, they see a giant projected chocolate bar that melts into puddles beneath your feet and, when you jump in the puddles, liquid chocolate splashes all over the floor! Next the floor fills with hundreds of huge “roses” chocolates. As you step on each one they unwrap, and when you step away they wrap up again.
Every minute or so, the interactive floor wraps itself up with bright shiny purple foil, the hallmark of the Cadbury brand. The floor then unwraps to reveal a new interactive activity.
Huge squares of chocolate then fill the interactive floor. When you jump on them like stepping stones they break open to reveal yummy caramel, squidgy Turkish Delight, chunks of orange, mint or Cadbury’s Crunchie inside. Next you can chase three huge Creme Eggs across the floor. The eggs are pretty much impossible to catch, you have to be fast and work as a team to catch them.
The technology behind this interactive floor
Hidden underneath the floor are 8 individual “shockwave” sensors that can work out just how hard you are jumping up and down on the interactive floor. A little jump gives a small splash, a big heavy jump gives a massive splash! The 8 individual floor sensors send data over a serial connection, and I was able to program software to triangulate the force over the surface, by “listening” to the pressure sensor data.
To get very precise movement data, in the roof is hidden 2 infra red sensing cameras, and 4 infra fed lights. These cameras look down onto the floor and can detect peoples movement very accurately. I wrote software that could detect peoples feet, as they stomped around on the interactive floor. I also wrote blob-tracking code that could see if there are lots of visitors, or just one or two. The computer sees people as different blobs, and the games can change depending on what’s happening on the interactive floor. Also, I was able to detect the motion of all the people playing on the interactive floor. By working out the direction that they are facing, and the speed that they are travelling, I was able to code an artificially intelligent Cadbury Creme egg, that tries to avoid you wherever you go. No matter how hard you try, you just cant catch it, and believe me, people try really hard!
Thanks to Sam Willis and the team at Newangle