A new ‘first-of-it’s-kind’ playground has opened up in the centre of London to give a glimpse into what the future could look like for children’s play. The playground, which has been installed by Virgin Media O2 will challenge children to create their own musical track by interacting with swings, slides and climbing frames - all powered by Virgin Media O2’s gigabit broadband and 5G mobile networks.
Combining traditional play with connectivity, ‘The Connected Playground’ was inspired by new research into parents’ opinions on how their children play and the role of technology in children’s development. The research found that seven in 10 British parents believe children should have more exposure to playgrounds modernised with technology.
The playground apparatus including swings, slides and climbing frames have been modified with sensors, pressure pads and infrared beams to create an interactive environment which reacts in real-time to a child’s movement, enabling them to create their very own musical masterpiece as they make their way around the playground.
Meanwhile, each interaction with the playground equipment influences the pitch and tempo, adding another layer of sound to build a piece of music which can be heard through speakers throughout the play area. Once the child has completed the course, their unique music track can be downloaded to take home and listen back to.
Dr Sam Wass, child psychologist and expert on Channel 4’s Secret Life of 4 and 5-Year-Olds, said: “The scientific evidence is overwhelming now that spending time outdoors has both immediate and long-term benefits for children’s concentration and mood. But encouraging this as a parent can be hard because children’s expectations and what they get from digital play are constantly evolving.
“New hybrid environments, such as Virgin Media O2’s Connected Playground, may in future play a vital role in encouraging children to embrace technology in outdoor settings, and help provide children with the tools they need to think and play creatively.”
Gareth Lister, Director of Connectivity at Virgin Media O2, said: “Great connectivity has never been so integral to everyday life. From play to education, and everything in between, it sits at the heart of all that we do. Using our hyperfast gigabit broadband and 5G mobile networks, we created The Connected Playground to bring to life the boundless possibilities of connectivity. That’s why we’ll keep pushing boundaries and innovating so that our connectivity can continue to power new technologies and experiences of the future.”
Virgin Media Connected Playground - how to visit
The new playground is located at Kings Square Gardens in Islington, London. It is available to visit for free from March 9 to 10. To book a slot visit the Eventbrite website.