Integrating video games and robotic play in physical environments

Byron Lahey, Winslow Burleson, Camilla Nørgaard Jensen, Natalie Freed, Patrick Lu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Active Learning Environments with Robotic Tangibles (ALERT) are mixed reality video gaming systems that use sensors, vision systems, and robots to provide an engaging experience that may motivate hitherto underrepresented kinds of learners to become interested in game design, programming, and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Through the use of fiducials (i.e., meaningful markers) recognized by robots through computer vision as just-in-time instructions, users engage in spatially-based programming without the encumbrances of traditional procedural programs' syntax and structure. Since humans, robots, and video environments share many inherently spatial qualities, this natural style of physical programming is particularly well suited to fostering playful interactions with mobile robots in dynamic video environments. As these systems broaden the capabilities of video game technology and human-robot interaction (HRI) they are lowering many existing barriers to integrated videorobot game development and programming. Diverse ALERT video game scenarios and applications are enabling a broad range of gamers, learners, and developers to generate and engage in their own physically interactive games.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of Sandbox 2008
Subtitle of host publicationAn ACM SIGGRAPH Videogame Symposium, Sandbox'08
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2008
EventSandbox 2008:3rd ACM SIGGRAPH Videogame Symposium - Los Angeles, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 9 2008Aug 10 2008

Publication series

NameProceedings of Sandbox 2008: An ACM SIGGRAPH Videogame Symposium, Sandbox'08


OtherSandbox 2008:3rd ACM SIGGRAPH Videogame Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityLos Angeles, CA


  • Embodied learning
  • Mobile robots
  • Participatory design
  • Tangible media
  • Video games

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software


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