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How IoT Helped to Create a Smart Escape Room

As today’s entertainment uses IoT more and more often, it’s pretty common for escape rooms to benefit from these solutions. We combined our experience of development in creating web games and video content to deliver more fun to the gamer community of Wroclaw in House of Crime – a smart escape room using both IoT Raspberry Pi solutions and a Python based management application.

author: Weronika Nużyńska

.05 October 2017

Smart escape room with IoT system

If you’ve ever been to an escape room, it is nearly impossible that you didn’t notice some similarities with classic video games. The idea of an escape room is basically to transfer certain types of video games into reality –  each move of yours causes a particular reaction, designed within the game scenario.

Imagine that the consequences of your actions are totally automated, making you feel as if you were the game character. It takes not only imagination to engage the user at a higher level, but also well fitted technological solutions that could transfer the gamer  into a virtual reality in real time. It’s  not what we expect from the modern entertainment?

Virtual reality games based on motion sensors surprise us no more. Instead of controlling a game’s character we are becoming one. The line between what’s virtual and what’s real blurs in a way we can’t avoid – one does not exist without the other.

This changes the expectations users have about new entertainment paradigm – they demand not only a great game scenarios, but also new technologies that will surprise them with intensified sensations and unprecedented control.

 

It’s not that we use technology, we live technology.

Godfrey Reggio

 

Do you remember gaming where reaching an object caused an immediate reaction, for example, a door opening while you came at them or picking up the objects after clicking on them? In modern games we want to participate in those actions – we want to see, touch and feel things just like a virtual character.

New successful escape rooms differ from the classic ones – they are completely automated. One word, move or gesture of yours can start a sequence of events. The technology changes your role in the game. That idea inspired two investors from Wroclaw to come up with an idea of House of Crime – a smart escape room, where technology plays an important role.

iot system and python application used in an escape room

The technology for the House of Crime is an IoT system based on 7 Raspberry Pi devices with microprocessors connected to multiple sensors which complements brain teasers. To set everything up, we invited our friend Mark, who is an experienced IoT specialist to help us with this project. We integrated incentives detected by sensors, such as light, motion, weight load or coming close to an object, which causes a particular sequence of events together with essential multimedia displays in the game. Just like in video games, this sequence is automated in order to a scheme as further materials are not available for players, until the previous task is done. What’s innovative , in House of Crime is that  players create the plot of the game depending on the decisions they make.  Just like the popular interactive video game, Her Story, pointing to different suspects displays different multimedia and impacts the rest of a game.

One additional feature of the House of Crime’s IoT based smart room is a bespoke entertainment management application written in Python. A person responsible for conducting the game can easily get control over the game sequence by displaying some event manually or ignoring them completely. It is also an important safety concern – in case of a system breakdown any unpredicted events the room can be easily opened at any moment.

 

How long does it take to implement smart solutions into an escape room? This custom Python application was developed in 2,5 month, while simultaneously installing the network of sensors and detectors.

 

Weronika Nużyńska

author

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