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Visual Interfaces for Mobile Devices - Spring 2018 - Team : Social Wall
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Visula Interfaces for Mobile Devices - Spring 2018 - Team : Social Wall

Cosmic Explorer

Cosmic Explorer aims to engage young visitors and immerse them in an interactive, intuitive, and exciting world where they will learn to express their curiosity and explore the solar system through the wonder of play!

While motion tracking is the ideal way to play, this project also works with a mouse and keyboard.


The Durham Museum of Life and Science is looking for an interactive exhibit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. This exhibit would be projected onto both an open wall and a section of the floor to create an immersive experience aimed at kids around the age of seven. We divided our project into two sections: the wall scene and the floor scene. The floor scene shows a top-down display of the solar system. The planets move relative to their actual speeds around the sun, with one Earth year taking about 7 seconds. The wall scene is where the interactions take place. This will show all 8 of the planets scaled up and stationary around the sun. Using the motion tracking, a player can select a planet by hovering over it for 1.5 seconds. After a planet has been selected, the floor scene will shift to a zoom-in of the planet. As all this is happening, there are also some objects that will spawn and fly around the space. These include a comet, an asteroid, an astronaut, a space ship, and a Tesla Roadster. If the player hovers over these, a unique sound will play.

Controls for Mouse and Keyboard

Click and drag the particle trail in the middle of the screen. This represents a hand and is used to interact with everything.

Press space to create another hand. These will have a randomized color, but will work the same way as the default hand.

Press backspace to toggle between the 3D planet zoom-in and the illustrator's rendition of the planet zoom with easter eggs.


Chris Miller, Daxit Agarwal, Thomas Huneycutt (COD), Bethany Cantrell (COD), Tierra White (COD), and Michael Pfeffer (COD)

Gitlab Repository:
This project was version controlled through gitlab. Please follow the above link to see project history. Choose the develop or realsense branch.

Realsense Technology:

The project includes a realsense sensor build under the RealsenseDevelopment folder. This build includes an executable that requires the Intel Realsense 400 series sensor to run. There is also a unitypackage that can be opened with the 2018 version of Unity to explore (but not run) the realsense project. For an unpackaged version of the realsense project, please see the realsense branch on the Gitlab repository above.

Future Work

  • Improve the motion tracking to be more stable and support more skeletons
  • Along with motion tracking, add star trails behind hands and feet.
  • Gestures
  • Implementing easter egg interactions for each planet (Curiosity Rover is moving around on Mars, ISS orbiting Earth, etc.)
  • Adding in a way to express information about the planets so that kids learn as they play.
  • Fine-tune textures so some planets don’t look as flat (Jupiter, Saturn)
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