Backseat Playground

Backseat Playground Logo

The Interactive Institute in Sweden has created an in-car, virtual reality gaming system called Backseat Playground that uses GPS to integrate the actual location of your vehicle into a game. It’s currently a prototype designed for kids stuck in the car on long rides. Players can, for example, solve murder mysteries and search for clues in meatspace as they drive around. It has some great interactive features such as characters in the game will actually call the player’s cell phone (hand held receiver) to give him or her clues.

Details from New Scientist:

The Backseat Playground consists of a GPS receiver, a handheld computer and headphones, all connected to a laptop in the trunk of the car.

The laptop uses the GPS data to maintain a three-dimensional model that keeps the car correctly positioned within the virtual world. A database of geographical information is used to match events in the game to suitable locations. Players interact using the handheld computer.

The game begins with a radio newsflash, relayed by the handheld computer, which places a passenger at the start of a murder mystery or a werewolf thriller. As the car travels along its route, the player receives further phone calls and walkie-talkie messages from characters in the game.

For now, the game only works over an area of 35 square kilometres in Stockholm, but you can check out the video of a couple of kids giving it a test run.