In the Summer and Fall semesters of 2011, two teams of NIU students, subject matter experts, and coaches designed and developed a video game using the Microsoft's XBox 360 Kinect interface technology to engage middle and high-school students in fundamentals of physics and chemistry using their bodies rather than a game controller to navigate through a world filled with subatomic particles while they build elements.
The purpose of the Picodroid project was to produce a physics-based, kinesthetic video game that utilizes Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Kinect interactive controller technology. With Kinect, the user controls the game play through the movement of their body and the sound of their voice. NIU students who participated on the design and development teams came from Physics, Art, Instructional Technology, and Computer Science and worked together on game concepts, story, interface, and assets, resulting in the game the names Picodroid. The students were challenged to develop a game or games in which middle- and high-school player/learners would use basic physics concepts in a fun and interesting way, at the same time standing and moving their bodies instead of sitting at desks in the classroom.
The result of this process was Picodroid, a futuristic competitive game that engages students in basic physics and chemistry concepts using their bodies to control nano robots to collect subatomic particles, build elements, and win the game.
In December 2011, the final game was presented to a large audience and is available free of charge to educators. Play only requires a Kinect® camera and a Windows 7 PC.
Windows Kinect SDK v1.6 is required to play the game. Windows 7 and a Kinect camera is also required.
If you download and use Picodroid please fill out our survey.
For more on the game see the NIU Today story.