SCEC Award Number 12061 View PDF
Proposal Category Communication, Education, and Outreach Proposal
Proposal Title Kinect Technology Game Play Mimicking Seismic Sensor Deployment
Name Organization
Debi Kilb University of California, San Diego
Other Participants Yerri Choo (undergraduate student, UCSD); Alan Yang (early career visualization specialist, UCSD/SIO)
SCEC Priorities 6d SCEC Groups CEO
Report Due Date 03/15/2013 Date Report Submitted N/A
Project Abstract
We use the Kinect technology to design a videogame that mimics how scientists deploy seismic instruments following a large earthquake. The Kinect gaming platform creates a fun and inexpensive tool for science education. At the beginning of the game a mainshock earthquake occurs and the player in the role of a scientist is instructed to deploy seismic instruments as quickly as possible and distributed them as uniformly as possible in the mainshock region to optimally record aftershocks. The game design is modular so that improvements and augmentations can be easily incorporated. To offer a range of learning opportunities the game is designed for informal education venues (e.g., museums and information centers). Partnering with informal educators also allows us to interface efficiently with a relatively small group of educators, who will be the conduits to a larger audience of teachers and learners.

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Intellectual Merit Players of our seismology learning game will begin to understand how and why scientists deploy seismic instruments after a large earthquake. They will also be introduced to concepts characteristically difficult to teach and understand such as how to locate a specific (longitude, latitude) location on a map. The game can be used as a companion tool to other seismology related programs such as the great California ShakeOut (participant base 8.6 million people) and the citizen scientist project the ‘Quake Catcher Network’, which is a large, low-cost seismic network of seismic sensors deployed in schools, homes and offices world-wide.
Broader Impacts It is estimated that 65% of households in the USA play video games. Of these, there is wide range of socioeconomic conditions and there is a larger population of Hispanic and African American players than white players in the age range 8-18. Our Kinect gaming platform is optimal to engage this underrepresented population of learners. These funds also supported an undergraduate student (Choo) and a junior investigator (Yang) and the PI (Kilb) gave a TEDx talk “Using Videogames to Cultivate Future Scientists” that has been viewed by over 700 people.
Exemplary Figure Figure 2. A sampling of cartoon characters used in the Quake Catcher videogame. UCSD undergraduate Ms. Yerrie Choo draws these cartoons.