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    This project was started by a group of XD developers and designers who got together to start an Adobe Pro Bono project with the Children’s Creati… Read More
    This project was started by a group of XD developers and designers who got together to start an Adobe Pro Bono project with the Children’s Creativity Museum (CCM) in San Francisco. The museum’s goal was to partner with Adobe to conceptualize, design and build an exhibit for children five years and younger. The Team - Petra Ubel, Will Ruby, Sean Voisen, Tim Kukulski, Paul Dorian and Ming-En Cho. Read Less
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Adobe's Pro Bono Initiative, XD and the Children's Creativity Museum
 
Did we really make that?
A scant few months ago, on our first site visit to the Children's Creativity Museum (CCM), the core pro bono volunteers from XD stared at a carcass of a space that was to house the exhibit we'd been tasked with building. There were very few parameters, basically a blank canvas. A tad overwhelming. Fast forward to just a few days ago to the exhibit's launch and I'm watching both youngsters and adults alike interacting, playing and genuinely enjoying the experience that was crafted by the team here in XD SF. Amazing.
 
 
Our key demographic in the space doing some stress testing at the launch event.
 
Seemingly Simple but not That Simple
The charter from CCM initially was to create a safe and inviting space where its 2-5 year old visitors could engage in activities that support developmental growth while being safe and durable. Ok, some snuggies, beanbags and foam blocks would be the easy way to go. But hey we are Adobe – Adobe XD no less, so that was not an option. After a few focused brainstorming sessions and tons of ideas, we hit on what we ended up with today: an LED light array of big 8-bit style pixels running multiple hand crafted applications that would receive input from a pressure sensitive floor and touch enabled events accompanied by sound triggers… Oh, and we'd build it primarily ourselves. Could we really do this though?
 
Tim Kukulski's early sketches of the vision for the room and an early SketchUp 3D file further visualizing the space.
 
Design, Build and Install
We hit on a complex concept and knew that we had to crafty more than anything to pull this off relying on everyone in the group equally to dig deep and rise to the occasion. In the mix of XD volunteers, our cumulative skill set enabled us to design, engineer, prototype, weld, solder, cut, graft, hack, crate, troubleshoot and install all of the various components that were a part of the final exhibit. (Okay -- we didn't do the CNC woodwork -- we used Hero Design as our fabricator). No small feat given the complexity of it all. And it works!
 
A few pics of the process from prototype, build and testing to the final wall crated up and being loaded into Tim's truck for its journey to CCM.
 
Pro Bono at Adobe? Yes!
The opportunity to be a part of such a dynamic team and to make a difference in our local community has provided me much inspiration, gratitude and satisfaction along the way. My hope is that the completion of the museum exhibit can bring more attention to the Adobe Pro Bono Initiative and help pave the way for similar scale projects for XD contribute to in the future. 
 
The XD CCM crew: Petra Ubel, Will Ruby, Sean Voisen, Tim Kukulski, Paul Dorian and Ming-En Cho. 
Shirt design by Sam Wick
 
 
    — Paul Dorian Sr Experience Designer at Adobe XD  
 

The Launch Party 
The Floor - As part of our vision for the Children's Creativity Museum installation, we wanted to build a fully responsive pressure-sensitive floor. Our hope was that this floor, which we called the CCM ActiveFloor, would add an element of interactivity beyond multi-touch that would encourage kids playing in the exhibit to become more active and engaged. We wanted kids to move around - to run, jump, spin and play. It was an ambitious task for a bunch of software designers and developers, but judging from the screams and smiles of kids in the museum exhibit on opening day, we'd say it was a success!
 
 
The floor consists of a "sandwich" of materials. A subfloor on the bottom, a layer of electronics and pressure-sensitive resistors, a top floor layer, and then a layer of foam tiling. 
To make things easy to maintain and assemble, the floor was broken into a grid of tiles, each tile controlling 8 sensors connected to a master bus. Each floor tile communicates with a master controller over ethernet wiring. With a sensor density of 1 per square foot, the floor has over 160 sensors for kids to jump and run on!
All of the floor tile electronics were custom designed and assembled in-house at Adobe. Needless to say, we spent many days hacking and soldering.
 
Last summer a small group of XD developers and designers got together to start an Adobe Pro Bono project with the Children’s Creativity Museum (CCM) in San Francisco. The museum’s goal was to partner with Adobe to conceptualize, design and build an exhibit for children five years and younger. CCM wanted a safe space for their smallest visitors that would allow the little ones to engage in activities that highlighted the different stages of their developmental growth. Obviously, since they were collaborating with Adobe XD, they also wanted the exhibit to be focused on technology as well as the children’s creativity. The exhibit needed to be a creativity and sensory exploration studio that used technology the little ones would not find in their homes. In other words, the experience would be nothing like using a computer, tablet, gaming device or TV.
 
We started with talks with CCM…
 
Meet the CCM “Critters”. The Critters are the museum’s branded mascots that provided inspiration for the exhibit.
 
 
After more than six weeks of brainstorming sessions and conversations with the very talented and creative people in XD, we finally settled on a concept that would push the boundaries of what our developers were familiar with, and take us down a path to explore new technologies and the art of pixel graphics. We decided to make an exhibit with a pressure sensitive floor that has an interactive reaction on an LED light array wall. In addition to the floor reaction on the wall, there will also be the ability for the children to touch the “screen” and interact with the wall. Oh and did we mention there will also be sound? Yup, we nailed almost all of the senses. 
 
 
This is a rough vision of what the space will look like when complete. The wall on the left with the blue “Critter” will be the interactive wall that will react with the pressurized flooring. The other walls will be inactive but will carry the theme of the space.
 
This is our first prototype of the wall. Tim Kukulski has been leading the efforts for the technology and vision of the wall.  Tim is also working on how the wall will connect with the information from the flooring. 
 
After building this prototype, the team created a program that would allow us to simulate the wall experience on a large screen TV. Since we drew inspiration from the Critters, Paul Dorian and Ming Cho are creating an app that also involves the Critters. When a child moves across the floor, the Critters will move too.
 
 
We are also designing and building other programs that carry the concept of physics and motion. 
 

Of course we could not do all the fancy wall work without the crucial pressure sensitive floor that Sean Voisen has been designing and building with the help of Will Ruby. The floor will read the movement of the child, which will provide the direction to the wall programs. Examples of potential reactions might be if a child jumps, the Critter hides, or if the child runs, the circles scramble around the screen at a quicker pace than they would were the child walking.
 
 
 
 
—Petra Uebel, XD Design Program Manager at Adobe
 
 
—Petra Uebel, XD Design Program Manager at Adobe
—Petra Uebel, XD Design Program Manager at Adobe
—Petra Uebel, XD Design Program Manager at Adobe
—Petra Uebel, XD Design Program Manager at Adobe—Petra Uebel, XD Design Program Manager at Adobe