Chris O’Shea, the artist and interaction designer, has collaborated with digital production company, Nexus Interactive Arts, to create ‘Woodland Wiggle’ – an innovative interactive installation at Europe’s newest hospital, The Royal London, which helps children benefit from the healing powers of art and play.
‘Woodland Wiggle’ is a pioneering interactive game displayed on a television the size of a room. It allows children to enter into a storybook illustrated world enabling them to paint; play music; and trigger sun, rain, snow and rainbows with animated animal characters across a number of woodland scenes.
Working in close consultation with clinical teams at the hospital, and following a series of workshops with physiotherapists and occupational therapists, O’Shea was able to determine the movements that would give children the best health benefits which strongly influenced the format and design of the games created.
O’Shea used the latest creative technologies, including custom software written in C++ using open Frameworks and an Xbox Kinect camera, to bring the unimaginable to life by reflecting the children’s video image within the scene in real-time, allowing them escape the reality of their daily treatment and interact with the exciting animated environment.
It is part of a project that has created two stunning innovative play and garden spaces – an outdoor “sky garden” and an indoor Alice in Wonderland-style play area – at the hospital. Both are designed to provide healing spaces for young patients far away from the usual hospital ward sterility.
The indoor space, formally known as the Ann Riches Healing Space, will be officially unveiled today between 9am-10.30am at The Royal London Hospital.
Chris O’Shea, Director and Designer, Nexus Interactive Arts, commented: “It’s been great working with the talented team involved; Felix Massie, on the illustration and animation has been a wonder to work with. He has lovingly re-imagined the animals characters thought up by designer Morag Myerscough, animating them in a way that has given the creatures a real sense of personality. The additional animation of the background elements breathes further life into the scenes, creating a magical destination. Brains and Hunch have created some beautiful soundscapes that are calming and subtly appealing in their delicacy. The sound effects and music greatly help to transport the children into the characters’ world.”
The spaces are the result of a Royal Institute of British Architects competition to design two innovative play and garden spaces for the new Royal London’s Children’s Hospital that harness the healing power of art and play. They were designed by award-winning architects Cottrell and Vermeulen and designer Morag Myerscough, and funded entirely by charitable donations from underwriters Odyssey Re, construction group Skanska, and Barts and The London Charity.
Artist Chris O’Shea
Producer Beccy McCray
Executive Producer Luke Ritchie
Development Producer Claire Spencer Cook
Production Assistant Carmen de Wit
Illustrator and Animator Felix Massie
Composer and Sound Designer Brains and Hunch
Documentation Editor Dave Slade
Production Company Nexus Interactive Arts