Created during my second year of university, this group project was made to a brief by the local Discover Children’s Story Centre.

The class this project was created for was Multimedia Hardware. The Discover centre regularly have special exhibitions and their upcoming exhibition was to be along the theme of Secret Agents. The project was to create an experience with hardware to integrate into the space.

We decided to create a play experience throughout the exhibition instead of a specific installation in order to encourage children to fully explore the space.

A map showing the various rooms available in the discovery story centre during the secret agent themed period. The rooms include: a secret agent lab, laser maze, hidden lair, vault entry, vault proper and library, which are connected to the entrance via a hallway.

A map of the Discovery centre’s secret agent exhibition showing the locations of devices. The Laser Maze was a full installation by itself but apart from that these devices were to be placed in all areas.

Throughout the experience, visitors must piece together a secret code in order to infiltrate Dr. Iscove’s secret vault. They are given a page in their spy booklet (provided by the centre) with a map of the space with simple coordinates. Each piece of the vault code can be obtained by a spy device. These devices were to be made using Arduinos.

A sketch of the design of the proposed keypad devices, showing the overall physical size to be 13 x 9 x 3.8 cm and the stacked arrangement of Arduino board and breakout board inside
The devices that were to be placed around the space. A visitor types in the map coordinates of the device and if correct, an audio message containing a piece of the vault code and a clue to the location of the next device is played.

The location of the first code piece is marked on the map, and when visitors find the device they must type in the coordinates of the area where it is found. Each device gives a piece of the vault code and a clue to where the next device can be found.

The schema for the Arduino based devices to be used in the experience. Using a number of buttons for input, a speaker for output and an SD shield for storage of audio files.

We made the design decisions for the experience based on research into educational play, intrinsic rewards and flow. A minimal demo of the experience was created using the Unity game engine, to allow others to experience the design for review.