For some folks, bath time accessories include a glass of red wine and a novel. Other dudes prefer “Song of the Whale” and a roach. But for those seeking a bath tub experience where a Pink Floyd laser show invades a Japanese arcade submerged in Las Vegas’ Bellagio fountain, thankfully there is AquaTop.
Developed by Koike Laboratory researchers at Tokyo’s University of Electro-Communications, AquaTop is an interactive entertainment system that turns bath time into an immersive experience of colored light, sound and, of course, water. All it took was a six months of coding, a Kinect camera, a projector and some waterproof speakers.
Users begin by mixing bath salts into the water, making it milky, which provides a better contrast as a projection surface. Images are then projected onto the cloudy water, which also reflects the infrared light of the depth-sensing Kinect that tracks finger movement. Whether held above the water, on the surface or poked from below the surface, hands and fingers can be used to interact with orbs of light, images and other shapes.
For example, bathers can pick up a handful of water with a video thumbnail projected onto the surface and drop it into a video player on the other side of the tub. Images can be moved by creating waves and “deleted” by pinching the images from underneath the surface and pulling them underwater.
Supplementing AquaTop’s simple gaming platform is a 50-hertz waterproof speaker that, when activated, shoots a fountain of water accompanied by LED lights. As well, the system is chock-full with all kinds of sound effects: pitter-pattering, alien harmonics, spheroid transmogrification, whooshing orbits and more.
Perhaps it’s best to check out this video of AquaTop in action, because describing it makes me sound like I just downed a dose of LSD. Warning, the video contains a giggling group of researchers absolutely geeking out to video games in a milky bath tub, rubber ducky included. But don’t worry, it’s quite SFW.
Credit: Koike Laboratory, UEC Tokyo