PowerPlay is an educational technology company that creates structures which combine kinesthetic STEM learning for children, engaging physical activity, and smart city device connectivity.
Education Through Play
Our structures convert children’s bountiful mechanical energy to electricity in the form of lights and sounds. We use the electricity to educate children on their impact on energy production and consumption, as well as other STEM concepts. The term “energy” remains a very abstract word for children, but we seek to use kinesthetic learning to allow children to gain an intuitive understanding of the term. By engaging children with the structures’ entertaining, active, and gamified nature, we give children the chance to learn freely, all while having fun.
Smart City Infrastructure
By using advanced information and communication technology and the energy generated by children's play, our structures can collect valuable data on the temperature, pedestrian traffic, air quality, energy generation, and noise level of the surrounding area. The data from each structure can then be instantaneously viewable to a city’s government and citizens, thus contributing to a vast Internet of Things (IoT) network. Using urban informatics, a city can use the data from PowerPlay structures to track trends in human behavior and climate patterns.
PowerPlay structures help to connect a city’s patrons to the city itself. The structures attract children and families with their visually appealing essence, and engage with their entertaining and educational nature. The self-sustaining information collection and IoT capabilities allow governments to easily keep track of environmental and social behaviors, and to keep a city’s citizens informed about the local area. The interconnectivity proficiency of the structures allows a network of products from different cities to communicate with one another, inspiring increased community engagement and societal consciousness.
Play to Learn
Each of our structures works to enhance the user’s intuitive understanding of important STEAM concepts. By engaging in an activity on the structure, the mechanical energy from the user is represented as a live feed through audial and visual stimuli. By witnessing these representations of the energy, the users gain a sense of connection between their own movements and the biofeedback mechanism. By experimenting with this relationship, the users are effectively improvising and utilizing the Scientific Method through play. The goal is to get the users to ask questions about how moving their bodies result in such stimuli, as a means to spark scientific curiosity. Although the users may not be able to identify these STEAM principles by name, by interacting with PowerPlay structures they build insight into the abstract ideas and way of thinking. Our free-play, kinesthetic learning structures enable children to conduct original and fun experiments with their friends, and to exercise logical thinking, while simultaneously engaging in creative and interactive play.
Smarter Kids, Smarter City
By harnessing children’s mechanical energy from their activity on PowerPlay structures and converting it to electricity, we are able to power an array of devices and applications to enhance city operations. Sensors can be integrated into the structures and used to record meaningful data such as pedestrian traffic, air quality, CO2 concentration, noise level, energy generation, temperature, and other useful information. Additionally, the energy can be used to power Wi-Fi connectivity and device charging. All of these sensors and applications can be seamlessly integrated into the design of the artistic structures.
With the combination of internet connectivity and data collection ability, the data recorded by the structure can be sent to government officials instantaneously, allowing parks and public spaces to analyze trends in real time. In addition to viewing the data at any given moment, it can be used to analyze trends over longer periods of time. By comparing data sets, such as pedestrian traffic, temperature, city events, or carbon footprint, a city can optimize its operations with quantifiable data, leading to a more modernized city service agenda.
The cloud-connected system that is possible due to the internet connectivity allows IoT interactive control for city management. A city can keep better track of its carbon footprint by comparing details collected by structures in different locations. PowerPlay structures can even be connected to smart-city enabled structures and devices that already exist within a given city. With this connection between different structures and the city, the smart-city capabilities of a city can continue to expand, increasing the IoT quality exponentially. One can create a real-time map that tracks the status of various statistics a given city wishes to study. This allows a city to track the success of its operations, and to make informed decisions about future operations.
Connectivity in Technology and Community
This capability of PowerPlay structures to appeal to children, parents, and cities themselves is what gives rise to something greater: community connectivity. The meaningful data collection services that the structures provide enhance the ability of city officials to conduct streamlined operations and track areas’ popularities over time. This information would enable city officials to update plans and agendas to better reflect the desires and needs of the citizens. This means greater engagement in public spaces for all residents. As this connective network between government, park, and citizens increases, the experience of each is better suited and becomes evermore positive.
PowerPlay was formed by a group of friends who wanted to solve a group of problems. Our array of areas of expertise, ranging from mechanical engineering to child development to economics, meant that we were exposed to a varied collection of problems. We realized that we could solve these varied problems by creating interactive play equipment that would educate, conserve energy, and collect useful data. We enter each new project with those values in mind, and we ask ourselves the same question every time: What can we create that we would have loved as kids?