Block Rockets

Interactive Gallery Installation

Block Rockets is an interactive installation where users build structures with colorful kid’s blocks and then launch them into space using 2D physics. The system is built in openFrameworks and uses a Kinect and openCV to detect the blocks and turn them into abstract rockets. Box2D adds in realistic 2D physics and collisions. Users are presented with a table of blocks to construct their rockets. Once they are complete they can hit the “launch” button and watch on a large screen behind the table as their blocks get transformed into an abstract rocket with a booster pack. The screen counts down to launch with friendly “beep, beep, beep”. When the rockets take off a loud blasting noise occurs and flames shoot out of their rocket boosters. With each launch a 2D physics engine determines whether each piece of the rocket is balanced and weighted correctly. Unbalanced rocket blocks will fall off their boosters, each piece clinking as it hits the ground. Boosters will continue bouncing around the screen until they run out of gas and begin emitting smoke, eventually dying. Block Rockets attempts to enhance childhood memories of play by combining physical objects and an animated imaginative experience.

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