When I was a kid, I remember that if you went out to play on the streets , all you’d have is pavements and concrete bollards to interact with… and maybe some street lamps to give everything a vaporous glow. Mind you, we’d also make do with a handful of gravel for breakfast. Not so much these days, because the streets are filled with colorful interactive sculptures that people can play around with and sit on and stuff—or at least in this public square in Almere, Amsterdam.
Called Marbles from Studio Roosegaarde, these molded shapes are stuffed full of LEDs, sensors, speakers, and other tech goodness so that when a someone approaches or touches them they respond appropriately, changing color and making whale-like sounds. They’re also able to communicate with each other to make things even more fun, bringing some digital interactivity to this local meeting point.
Artist Daan Roosegaarde calls them a “digital playground” that “attracts people to the square and provides them with a conversation starter” as well as providing the square with added light and safety. Win-win.