Wearable Gameplay Systems and the Internet of Things

We’re all familiar with the typical ways of presenting questions, gameplay and responses for a quiz, reality or entertainment format. Usually content is shown on an LED wall, questions are shown on a keyed lower third graphic, scores are shown on podium screens and game events through lighting triggers or sound cues. What about more discrete, portable, and integrated ways of showing feedback? Why does a score have to be shown on a special screen when the player’s name badge could show that same information, letting the director frame for a reaction shot of the player rather than a mid-shot framed to include an information screen or podium?

Let’s take that idea further. A pendant device could show the player’s heart rate, time remaining, or when they are at risk of losing or being eliminated. A portable device could be given to the player and sense from something embedded in the podium, or the player’s badge or clothing, who is in control of the game. Discrete switches could be embedded in clothing to allow a player to use an advantage or invoke a clue. Low-powered LED strips could be sewn into costumes so viewers can see who is answering a question. There is no need for this to be limited to player feedback either. Props for a game can be intelligent, sensing their position, velocity, rotation or proximity to other props. Items on set can have their own lifetime – coming alive, being active for a fixed time, and responding to game state if a player wins or loses.

None of this is as far-fetched as it sounds. Kinetic Pixel have been working with Internet of Things (IoT) devices since the beginning of 2018 and have developed intelligent stand-alone buzzer systems that can handle simple game rules and give environmental feedback. We’ve prototyped ‘wands’ that can detect their orientation and light up to show when an audience member is taking part in a game. We’ve designed lightweight pendant devices that integrate with our control systems and real-time heart rate monitoring systems to show when a player’s biometric profile matches a set of parameters.

We’ve solved the practical problems that need to be addressed for this technology to work reliably in studio by sourcing and proving high powered lightweight battery parts that can last for a full 8 hours of rehearsing and recording, and give live feedback to the computer systems on their charge status. Low powered OLED displays let us show full-colour graphics and we can lock them to 50Hz or 60Hz so they don’t strobe on camera or need to be shuttered. High gain dual-band wireless chips and antennas, coupled with smart mesh networks and custom software that will ‘hop’ to the strongest network ensure decent wireless signal strength even when high-gain radio mic receivers are live.

We’ve designed wearable technology and proven that we can integrate it into our show systems with the same level of robustness and quality as the rest of our services. The time has come to bring this tech to a format that would benefit from on-camera, lightweight intelligent props or wearable gameplay systems and displays.

We’d love to talk to you about how we can make our ideas work for your production!

 
 

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