XR Bowling

Augmented Reality (AR), also known as Mixed Reality (XR), is a ripe field for designers, especially as more and more tools become readily available. Though XR is still in its infancy, XR designers continuously explore and push the boundaries of this technology with projects ranging from psychological healing to gaming to planning new urban spaces.

XR Bowling explores the relationship between digital and physical elements in XR. Specifically, how a digital realm influences the physical space.

The project consists of a bowling game that exists both digitally and physically. The digital bowling game exists in Unity3D. On the physical side, four bowling pins sit atop solenoids, all controlled by a Raspberry Pi. Both parts connect to each other using a Spacebrew server.

Onscreen, the user flicks the digital ball towards digital bowling pins. If the ball makes contact, a signal is sent to Spacebrew, which is then read by the Raspberry Pi. The solenoids actuate, knocking out the physical pins. Other objects can be added to the game to obstruct the digital pins. This element of surprise creates a two way relationship between the realms – the digital affects the physical, but physical elements can also affect digital elements.

A significant learning during the project was the importance of creating a seamless transition between the physical and the digital realms, to maintain the perception of continuity. Such micro-interactions are indispensable for users to interact naturally with this new mixed reality.

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