Interactive Paper Airplanes Exhibit at the Strong Museum of Play

Strong Museum of Play Take Flight Exhibit - Augmented Reality Paper Airplanes

Imagine your creations coming to life before your eyes and being displayed on the big screen for everyone to see. With the power of AR that is now a reality. Every kid has made paper airplanes to fly around the room. We’ve taken that concept and added digital magic… allowing them to fold themselves and magically fly vast distances across imaginary landscapes.

The Strong National Museum of Play opened the Take Flight airplane exhibit in February of 2021, giving museum attendants the ability to color in their very own unique paper airplane on a flat sheet of paper and scan it with Augmented Reality technology onto a large projected obstacle course wall for everyone to see. The process works by having Augmented Reality markers on specific parts of the paper airplane sheet. The Game Engine can then read the color information that was added to the sheet and project it onto a 3D model which is animated to fly around in a virtual space. Each drawing page has a singular unique marker which is used to identify the airplane you create amongst the rest. The model of your plane can then be manipulated to fly around with realistic animations. 

Scanning a paper airplane into the exhibit

Using a proprietary AR engine, WM Interactive’s engineers utilize a series of AR markers to properly recognize the paper airplane in its flat sheet form, which museum guests can color and design any way they please. Upon dropping their design on the scanner, the technology behind the exhibit recognizes the plane’s shape, cuts it out, and folds it on screen—right in front of their eyes. It then launches it across a beautifully landscaped 3D park on a large projection overhead, allowing kids to see their creation rocket past trees, perform loops, twists, and turns, and land further away than the typical real-life paper plane.

Custom coloring paper airplane plying on a projection of a park

From the AR markers on a sheet of paper our technology can infer the rotation, scale, and position of the outline of the paper airplane on the coloring page, and then cut it out and turn it into a plane on screen, with full 3D environmental interaction. The paper planes engine, created in Unity, tracks plane landings allowing multiple guests, or those looking to take another shot to compete for the best distance.

WM Interactive has been a forerunner when it comes to creating interactive experiences for connected toys, trade shows, and museum exhibits. Back in June of 2019, the team created Wild Kratts: Ocean Adventure! for the Strong Museum, which was an aquatic-themed version of the Take Flight exhibit. The aquarium did exceptionally well in drawing museum attendance and increasing engagement. The technology has since been taken to new heights with the Take Flight Paper Airplanes exhibit, utilizing complex geometry, 3D landscapes, and a bit of gamification with a leaderboard for the longest flights.

Adults coloring paper airplanes to turn into real planes that fly on a projector

Interested in a custom exhibit of your own or need some technical and creative genius for your display? WMI has created over 1,000 games and apps for Nickelodeon, Disney, Sesame Street, Universal Studios, Mattel, MGAE and other premier children’s brands. Give us a shout today, We ensure that your next project will be looking fantastic, all in a timely matter, and always at a competitive rate.

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