City Explorer at Hassenfeld Children's Hospital

Honor Award 2019

As a child patient, the hospital can be scary and lonely. Decisions are made for and about you that you may not understand, by people you don’t know. In many cases you can be there for long periods of time. To help make that stay a little less scary, create a connection to the outside world and return a modicum of control, Potion created City Explorer for the new Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital.

Styled like a children’s book come to life, City Explorer is an interactive tour of New York that gives children the chance to visit eight classic locations around the city, and manipulate them using special powers. Control paintings at the MoMA or the signs in Times Square with telekinesis. Shape shift with animals at the Bronx Zoo. Fly around the Brooklyn Bridge or change the time of year in Central Park and even control the fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Using gesture control, Potion built a system that can accommodate up to six concurrent players without compromising the experience for users, whether fully able or wheelchair bound.  To add a sense of personalization, the system is even integrated with the hospital’s child art program, allowing original art by patients to be brought into the world of the game in places like MoMA and Times Square.

Jury Comments: 

"Whether one dreams of being a painter, urban explorer, or a superhero this interactive experience makes it possible—and is heart-warming and joyful."

"Just what the doctor ordered—whimsey, art, and the excitement of exploration! What a lovely reminder that interactive design is most successful when engaging content and intuitive interaction outshines the delivery method."

"A simple installation, with simple interaction, that explodes with vibrance and wonder as a result of its superior content. The variety of visual styles, as well as the variety and extensible interaction modes, makes a compelling installation that is a pure expression of imagination, without interference from the technology or its modes of human-computer interaction."

Design Firms: 

Potion

Client: 

Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital

Project Area: 

180 sq ft

Open Date: 

September 2018

Photo Credits: 

Potion, Stephanie Goralnick (photography); Brian Bowman (videography); Cindy Yoon (editing)

Design Team: 

Phillip Tiongson (principal, creative lead); Nikolai Soudek (director of production); Matthew McNerney (creative director); Stephanie Goralnick (art director); Veronica Lawlor (illustration, concept art); Cameron Browning (director of technology); Lindsey Andon, Keith Madden (producers); Tamar Ziv (lead developer); Luobin Wang, Tim Sun, Adnan Agha (developers); Cathy Sun, Edyta Lewicka (designers); Tori Bonagura (associate designer); Drew Radke, Nick MacDonald (production coordinators)

Consultants: 

Skolnick Architecture + Design Partnership, Ennead Architects, Youtoocanwoo (music and sound design), Mirrortone Studios (sound design), Mental Canvas (Brooklyn Bridge environment)

Fabricators: 

Whitlock

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