Turning playgrounds into video games with ATmega328P

In today’s age of non-stop stimulation, it seems old schoolyard mainstays like the see-saw and jungle gym may not get as much love as they used to. In a way to reinvigorate these activities, the Hybrid Play system — which recently made its Indiegogo debut — uses an Atmel powered, clip-on sensor to transform any playground into an interactive virtual game.


Making setup super easy and intuitive, the Hybrid Play clip can easily be affixed to nearly any feature on a playset. The sturdy, weather-resistant “clothespin” features a collaboration of an ATmega328P MCU, IR sensors, gyroscopes, and accelerometers that precisely track motion data and transmit it back to a paired smartphone application via Bluetooth LE.


“A wireless sensor transforms the playground elements into physical interfaces controlling video games on Android or iOS devices (such as smartphones and tablets). Hybrid Play is specifically designed for recreational equipment that rotates around an axis, such as swings or seesaws, or static elements such a slides,” the team writes.


Once clipped to the play set, the Arduino-based sensor registers movement while a custom software transforms this data into actions in the digital game, such as walking, jumping, running or turning. Hybrid Play bridges the gap between the physical and digital worlds to create open-air fun experiences, and comes equipped with pre-installed entertainment like Puzzle City and Space Kids. However, since it’s open source, everyone can design their own games as well!


According to its creators, the actual functionality of the Hybrid Play is designed to promote communication, collaboration and group-play with children and parents. Usually, a parent or friend will operate the smartphone, as kids work together to solve the smartphone applications tasks and objectives. The phone could assign kids to swing in a pattern that collects space trash to clean the galaxy or to navigate the playscape in a reworked version of the arcade classics Pac-Man and TRON.


“You can also try hybrid version of classic games. Give a new life to old games on the playground or even better: you can create your own games. Your creations, your rules!” Given its open-source nature, the fun possibilities are endless.

The accessible iOS and Android platform even allows for kids and families to design their own games to be acted out and solved upon the playground. Hybrid Play’s intersection of physical activity, virtual stimulation, and relationship building makes it an ideal tool for the modern-day, on-the-go family.

Currently seeking $140,000 in its recently-launched crowdfunding campaign, the team hopes to use the pledges for hardware production, as well as software and gaming development. Shipments are expected to begin April 2015 — perfect time for some spring!

Do you have children between the ages of 6 and 12 and want to learn more about Hybrid Play?  You can explore the wide range of possibilities on its official site and back the team on its Indiegogo page here.

2 thoughts on “Turning playgrounds into video games with ATmega328P

  1. games tester

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