Monday, July 30, 2012

Attractions Toolkit - Fitness Fairgrounds

Welcome readers, and due to the sheer anticipation of the sporting event that stops the world, I'm deciding to bring up another Attractions Toolkit, this time, for another hands on exhibit. You may remember in the previous article, it covered Sensory Funhouse and the many ideas that would have made it far more memorable.
Fitness Fairgrounds was one of Wonders of Life's hands-on offerings, and being a big hit in its prime, the exhibit area consisted of two sections - the iconic WonderCycles, and the Coach's Corner testing booth. For those who have no idea what are these exhibits are, here's a crash course:
  • The WonderCycles were a hands on staple, and it was an interactive take on the exercise bike with a touch screen. Guests can cycle through one of three locations, especially Disneyland in Anaheim, and even in a miniaturised-point-of-view (and you thought Body Wars was the only attraction to involve miniturisation)
  • Coach's Corner was a netted/caged booth in which guests can try out three sports: baseball, golf and tennis - this simulation was designed to analyse guests' swing, with celebrity athletes giving them tips on achieving the most ideal swing for great game performance.
While it's only a minute section of the exhibit, I would as well have to blame the single-floor layout for limiting the choices (*sigh* because Epcot... no scorn intended.) But assuming that the plan was to only put together the highlights (and the innovative) aspects of fitness, that kind of served as the Achilles heel in two ways - the technology being outdated, and that this is only the fingerprint aspect of fitness. Perhaps, as this aspect is straightforward, here is the sketch for a reference:
The above floorplan, on how Fitness Fairgrounds would like to be expanded
From the above referential conceptual floorplan, it would be particularly wise to consider covering the major aspects of fitness as possible. In this case, we may keep the two attractions, but the main goal would be expansion. The key areas that might be of interest might be the jogging track simulation, the treadmill wheels, the rock walls, and the fitness ability test booths. Let's give a brief description of each attraction section, and how it would have been improved, or just set up.

The staple hit of Fitness Fairgrounds, one notable improvement of this attraction would be with regards to the technology. Some people reckon that the WonderCycles could be technologically upgraded with a more interactive twist in mind - in this case, 3D immersion might be a novel add-on, as well as an increase in track variations (any environment possible). Even better might be the opportunity to race against others, and even lap-racing variations (free-explore vs race ahead against the clock) might work. Some also might appreciate the 'rumble and breeze' effect one would get when cycling on a typical track (now that would make for a tamer thrill ride experience!), giving it a life-like ambient appeal! Also, from the footage, at the end of each ride, a tally appears with the number of calories burned. Perhaps a graphic equating the equivalent (a food item, perhaps) might be of great interest.

Suppose this attraction section be retained, and in this case, there would be three booths featuring each sporting ground (be it the tennis court, or a baseball batting stop, or even the golf course), depending on what's featured. Technological involvement would be variable, for instance, the use of Kinect technology, to analyse body movement per swing or swipe. Perhaps there is also opportunity to consider a game tailoring the analysed swings of the guests. Of course, the experience has to be a little ahead of its time, especially in the area of immersive technology.

Although this is nothing new by current standards (after all, you may remember the treadmill wheels as seen in the You! The Experience exhibit, one source of inspiration), this could be used as a measure of a guest's running speed and pulse against a set timer. However, safety concerns may be imminent with regards to its use by young children, so some age-related settings, plus adult supervision may be needed in this case.

Another ambient, or possible additional staple, an interactive rock wall (provided there are multiple height areas pertaining to each age group) might be a possible big hit with kids, young and old. Again, safety issues, as well as adult supervision, may be needed, but hopefully this will not stop families from sharing some experiences with their kids (not to mention giving them the opportunity for them to 'let off steam' if they're really full of energy!)

Although being a double-path jobbing track, this would be no ordinary one in common. Guests would have the opportunity to either test their sprinting skills on their own, or against an opponent (an athlete, a racehorse, a cheetah), in which you may like to refer to the Possibilities article "A Greater Race Ahead" covering the technology for this module. Consequently, two can race against each other, leading to some memorable results.

This section is likely to walk in the footsteps of Sensory Funhouse, with regards to its hands-on nature. Noting this, this section will have a variety of fitness tests, with the intent to make it a fun and engaging experience. Jump tests, stretch tests, even reflex tests will be used in this section, and interestingly, guests can have their results either e-mailed, or loaded on USB flydrive, or even printed in booklet form as a memento or record.

Please note that the Lifestyle Revue booths are only there with regards to an optional addon, and it would operate in a somewhat similarly identical way as it did since the pavilion's inception. However, it must be noted that while the touch screen capabilities could be utilised (or probably upgraded to choosing things via augmented reality), it is important to note that the current environment (in relation to health and lifestyle) could be drastically different from how it is since 1989, so the questions and design elements might have to be updated. As with the physical ability test booths, guest results and healthy living tips can be emailed or printed as a memento or record.

So that is probably as far as I can cover what could be probably added to, or even updated, in regards to Fitness Fairgrounds. If anyone has any suggestions or even some thoughts pertaining to some parts of the section, feel free to leave a comment and we'll get right back to you. And now, during the height of the most extravagant sporting events set to stop the world, here's to many best, warm wishes to the athletes and teams performing their best and inspiring young and old in the world of sports.

Until next time, readers!

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