Lantin was developed by fellow EAL colleague Morten Damgaard and myself as part of a Masters project at SDU in Kolding Denmark. The best way of describing Lantin is as “Brio meets SimCity”.
The system works as modular road tile enabling children to use toy cars and trains to play as they would with a traditional play mat. Supplied with the base unit (tile) are a number of smart building objects such as houses, factories, offices that can be placed on the tile to build up the play environment.
When an object is placed on the Lantin tile, the system comes to life by producing an environment sound relating to the object or object combinations.
Depending on the combinations of objects placed on the tile the soundscape changes contextually, thus allowing children to create their own environment for play. The system allows for this environment to be altered at any point in the play process creating dynamic play sessions.
The tile therefor becomes an environment for play and not the sole focus of play. Children are able to bring their imagination into the environment along with interaction from other toys thus enabling a more personalised play experience.
TECHNICAL SPECS OF LANTIN BOARD
From a technological perspective the system runs off the Lantin prototype runs off six Arduino Uno microprocessor each connected to an NFC/RFID (Near Field Communication, Radio Frequency Identification) enabled card readers. Five of the Arduino units act as collecting points for data (from their attached card readers) sending this to the sixth controller unit which process the data and assigns audio files to play, depending on the configuration of smart objects places on the tile. The controller microprocessor also features an attached audio shield unit, which is connected to an active speaker. All units are powered by a single battery pack. It should be noted that this setup could also be achieved using a single Arduino unit supporting more inputs for multiple NFC/RFID readers. However we chose to test this distributed system to assess the possibilities for future connected tiles.
You can read more about the LANTIN board in our paper LANTIN-Norwood Damgaard