Created for gesture-based interaction, NGX Interactive’s Virtual Aquarium makes waves in Canada’s BC Children’s Hospital pediatric care hub.
When Canada’s BC Children’s Hospital conceived of its new pediatric care hub, it featured a prominent and innovative “arts enhancement” element to its design. An interactive, gesture-driven installation that blends art, animation and immersive play, the Virtual Aquarium project was created for the Emergency Department waiting room for the new Acute Care Centre. The aim was to create a beautiful, relaxing and immersive large-scale digital art installation that provides pediatric patients a playful digital environment that soothes, calms and distracts.
Designed as a “no-touch” experience, the interactive installation invites patients to move, interact and explore via gesture-based interactions as they traverse three marine environments (the British Columbia coast, the deep ocean and tropical waters).
There were two notable challenges, says Hanna Cho, producer for NGX Interactive and lead for the overall concept and production for the project: 1) that there could be no language or audio; and 2) very specific hygiene and operational requirements. “This meant that we had to push hard for our UX to work without any touch, audio or text or language prompts,” Cho says. “The challenges, however, yielded an experience that is incredibly intuitive and delightful to progress through.”
Cho says the hospital staff, family advisory members and foundation liaisons were deeply involved with the conceptualization, design iterations and testing and evaluation and were as thrilled with the project’s end result as NGX was, as they were so central to its evolution. NGX also partnered with Aesthetics Inc., who oversaw the full scope of arts enhancements and graphics developed for the entire center. “We loved that they brought in local museums and artists to fill the new space with meaning and beautiful works,” she says.
It was also very special for the entire team to know where and how the Interactive Virtual Aquarium would be used. Says Cho: “Since its opening, it’s been really gratifying to hear how having this kind of visually beautiful interactive exhibit in an emergency department can transform the experience and memory of being in a stressful situation into a more positive and engaging one.”