Bright Play Games

Group: Hayat Benchenaa, Haiyan Zhang (2005)

BrightPlay was a project done for a Mattel workshop at Interaction Design Ivrea in 2005. I did this project with Haiyan Zhang. We worked on this project for four weeks. We went through a design process in which we did research, brainstormed, designed concepts and made prototypes to test the games.

BrightPlay turns the floor into a large display surface that kids stand on and interact with.

We were interested in enableing new ways of playing and enhanceing existing play. Our focus was on defining this new platform, how kids would interact with it, and most importantly designing some really engaging games.


We wanted to look at physical indoor games. With screen-based games kids are trapped in a tiny screen and very limited physical movement, we were looking to create games where kids use their bodies, run around, and touch things.

This is a platform that would ‘grow with the child’, from ages 3 to 6, by providing a basic system and a selection of games as the child changes in temperament and skill.

BrightPlay turns the floor into a display surface that kids stand on and interact with using their bodies and physical toys. BrightPlay games come in the form of game packs. Packs span a variety of themes, play patterns and age ranges. Each pack includes a set of cards representing the games available in the pack, and all the physical toys needed to play those games. Kids select the game they want to play by picking a card.

We designed three BrightPlay packs: BrightAction is a collection of action-based games for ages 3 to 4. Here are two of the games it comes with: In the game of Squish kids frantically squish scurrying bugs with their hands. In the Bug Hunt kids hold up a physical lantern and discover bugs in the dark by casting a spotlight on them.

BrightArt pack provides a canvas on which kids can explore creating art with their bodies and physical tools. It enables kids to make a virtual mess, and express themselves creatively. BrightWorlds offers children ‘story starters’ with which they can begin to build their own fantasy stories. Kids build up these words.

Beginning with the work of Myron Krueger in the 1970s, body-based gaming interactions (coupling projection and computer vision technology) have been explored to a limited extent, mostly in art-installations and promotional ventures.

Our aims for this project have been to move this concept firstly into the home marketed as a new gaming system, to explore its technical feasibility as a consumer product, and to begin designing new play patterns in this medium that are thoroughly engaging for children.

The BrightPlay platform offers kids a whole new way to play indoors. The diverse play patterns we have designed allow kids to develop gross motor skills, express themselves creatively and begin to build complex and engrossing fantasy worlds. It’s a system that can be used to play an almost limitless

variety of new games, with the potential to move into educational and family-oriented games.

Above is Bug Hunt which is a game where children are searching for bugs in the dark. As the child searches with the lantern the buugs are revealed. The animation on the right side is the Bug squish, this game is encouraging the child to move around and be active while trying to squish the bugs.

We propose a device that projects game images and tracks movement. This device can be placed on the floor, or mounted on a wall. Projector technology is becoming smaller, brighter and more affordable, thus more realistic.

Our initial concepts involved a physical mat that would use OLED or a similar display technology. In surveying what is already available or will be in the near future, we see a projection system being more feasible.

We propose a device that projects game images and tracks movement. This device can be placed on the floor, or mounted on a wall. Here are some possible configurations: Projector technology is becoming smaller, brighter and more affordable, and the BrightPlay system does not require high-definition image quality.

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