Ruth Lilly Health Education Center was searching for an interactive solution with a "wow factor" to get students excited about learning nutrition. BrainTwins proposed the concept of a card game incorporating augmented reality technology to create a dynamic lesson encouraging students to construct a well balanced meal reinforcing lessons on fat, sugar, and calories.
After multiple brainstorming sessions, AR demos, classroom observations and review of the pre-existing curriculum, a blueprint of the game was presented to the client. After finalization of the concept, BrainTwins was contracted to design the experience utilizing 20 Samsung Galaxy Phones and Samsung Gear VR headsets with the proposed augmented reality application utilizing custom animation and 3-D models. In addition to the program, BrainTwins designed play mats, branding, and a set of 31 playing cards. Each card includes an AR code (visual marker) that triggers nutritional data and a 3-D model augmented by the program to represent that particular food choice and serving size.
The Food for Thought AR Experience includes a VR headset pre-loaded with the activity, a set of 31 custom cards, and play mat for each participant or small team. There are six groups of cards (five food groups : vegetable, fruit, dairy, grain, protein with the addition of a treat group) color coded to match the lunch tray sections on the play mat. Students are instructed to create a meal by placing one food of each color group on the corresponding places on the lunch tray.
As students look at their tray with the headset on, 3-D models of their selected foods appear as holograms hovering above their play mat. In addition to seeing their own setting around them and the 3-D models populating the screen, an overlay heads up display appears on screen indicating whether or not they are going over the recommended amount of calories, fat, or sugar per meal (depending on which of the three scenarios they are playing). An animated emoji reacts to their choices, encouraging students to try different food combinations until they achieve a winning scenario which ends with a screen outlining the food choices they made with nutrition facts to reinforce what they have learned.
Multiple rounds of user testing showed that students were excited by the activity while gaining a deeper understanding about the daily food choices they make. According to surveys answered by participants ranging from the 4th to 6th grade, the activity was described as: memorable, educational, rewarding, and fun.