If you like lidar, and you like Pong, you’ll love GRiD.
GRiD is a new installation from experiential design firm Moment Factory that uses lidar sensors and projected visuals to “[imagine]a future social gaming and public space come together. Inspired by the dynamic arcade culture of the 1980s, GRiD revives social gaming spaces with classic game mechanics intact. Passersby can join in with strangers or with friends to discover a whole new way of playing together: in public!”
As Moment Factory explains on its official site, GRiD’s release comes after more than a year’s worth of experimentation with lidar tech. After observing that lidar sensors could be used to track objects for self-driving cars, Moment Factory asked—why not use them to track people moving through a space?
“After writing some custom software to detect point cloud clusters (moving humans), we tested it in our black box and were impressed by its accuracy. With one LIDAR in the corner of the room, we could reliably track the position of a dozen or so people. So we set about turning our 40 x 60 ft. m black box into a giant game interface using Unity as a visual and gameplay frontend.”
The first public test, the firm explains, was pretty incredible. At first, people weren’t sure how to play, but they caught on quickly and the game generated some real, unexpected public interaction:
“Spectators gathered around and teams formed organically, spurred on by cheers of encouragement. The excitement became increasingly palpable as everyone got carried away. Little by little, the teams began to blend and diversify. Circles of friends opened up to strangers, and touching moments were sparked—like this son, playing his father, super excited to share a rare moment of pure play.”
Moment Factory says this experience is only the first of their planned arcade-style prototypes. I, for one, hope Space Invaders is next.